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Suggested Questions for Hilda Solis

By Ed O'Keefe

The Eye continues to post the Government Accountability Office's suggested managerial and procedural questions for cabinet appointments today, as Barack Obama's pick for labor secretary, Rep. Hilda Solis (R-Calif.), faces the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Hilda Solis
Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.), Barack Obama's pick for labor secretary, faces Senate questions today.

The GAO released its recommendations in December, listing specific issues and questions for 28 departments, agencies and offices and broader questions for each appointee about management, human capital and other issues. It prepared a similar report during the 2000 presidential transition and did so again this year at the request of Congress.

“Certainly these people are very very talented, but many of them have not taken on the task of managing something as big as they’re going to take on," said George Stalcup, the director of GAO's strategic issues team that compiled the questions. The recommended lines of interrogation are drawn from the reams of reports the office prepares each year on all aspects of the government's work.

As for the Labor Department, the GAO suggests it needs to address three key issues:

• Enhancing Employment and Training Programs
• Ensuring Safe and Productive Workplaces
• Improving Private Pension Plan Monitoring and Enforcement

Here are some of the recommended questions for the next labor secretary (view the full list here):

Department of Labor

• What experience do you have evaluating employment and training programs, and how can such experience help inform policy decisions about what level of federal investment is warranted in these programs?

• Based on your experiences, what policies have you found to be effective in encouraging employers to engage and retain older workers or encouraging workers to work longer, and what role can job training programs play in this effort?

• The department is responsible for enforcement of labor laws designed to protect workers, including the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Mine Act, Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act, and Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. What is your familiarity with these laws, and what do you think are key steps for improving their enforcement?

• How familiar are you with the legal and regulatory framework the department uses to protect the pension assets of American workers? How are you prepared to help identify any additional authorities or remedies that would assist the department in refining this framework?

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 9, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Confirmation Hearings, Congress  
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Fair labor laws should be enfored. Pension assets if any is left. Should have been ask of the last Labor Secretary.Enhancing enployment and training programs.Union workers are better train and follow safety rule.Get rid of slave labor workers and fine the contractors and use the RICO law on.She brings oversight to labor and watch dog to pension funds. Smarter than BUSH,will not be used for toilet paper.

Posted by: sunnyday1 | January 9, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

These GAO questions are not at all appropriate to ask of a potential secretary. There's no evidence that having the kind of background and experience asked about is correlated to being a good Secretary of Labor. These are really questions that a Secretary should ask of her potential deputy and department heads, not questions for the Secretary himself. What you want in a Secretary are leadership skills, not technical skills: vision, a strong committment to the mission of the department, political skills, ,and the ability to assemble and motivate a team with the approvpriate experience, knowledge and skills to execute the vision.

Posted by: readerwriter | January 10, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

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