Fall 2019 Project Preview (ACUS Update)

by Emily Bremer — Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019@emilysbremer

The Administrative Conference of the United States kicks off its fall committee meetings this week, with a slate of new projects on: (1) Acting Agency Officials and Delegations of Authority; (2) Listing Agency Officials; (3) Agency Economists; (4) Internet Evidence in Agency Adjudications; and (5) Recruiting and Hiring Agency Attorneys. These projects are targeted for completion at the 72nd Plenary Session, which will be held in December 2019.

If you would like to attend a committee meeting in person, you can do so by RSVPing through the agency’s website, at the link provided below for the relevant meeting.  All listed meeting times are in Eastern time.  If you cannot attend in person, you can watch the meeting, in real time or after-the-fact, on the Administrative Conference’s Livestream Channel.  Written comments are also welcome and can be submitted online through the appropriate project page, each of which is linked below, or via email to the listed Staff Counsel.

Acting Agency Officials and Delegations of Authority: This project explores agencies’ practices under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 and other statutes, looking at the use of acting officials and of delegations of authority during periods in which a Senate-confirmed position sits vacant. Among other things, it examines how agencies design systems for succession planning, assign appropriate titles, and communicate relevant information to the public.

Listing Agency OfficialsThis project seeks to promote the availability of real-time information related to the identities and terms of high-level officials at federal agencies. It assesses the adequacy of existing publications and agency websites, evaluates whether a centralized entity is best positioned to collect and publish this information, and offers recommendations as to how such information, as well as archival information about past occupants and acting officials, should be published and updated online in a comprehensive and accessible format. This project is a companion to the ongoing project Acting Agency Officials and Delegations of Authority.

Agency Economists: This project will explore institutional issues related to the placement of agency economists as they concern agency rulemaking. It will consider whether and when an agency’s economic-analysis function should be centralized within the agency and how best to integrate economists’ work with that of rule-writers, attorneys, and other officials to ensure that economic issues are appropriately considered.

Internet Evidence in Agency AdjudicationThis project studies the use of independent internet research in agency adjudications and offers best practices regarding the use of such research. It identifies the legal, ethical, and administrative questions that arise when adjudicators conduct such research and urges agencies to issue appropriate guidance for their adjudicators. It also offers procedural best practices for adjudicators in evaluating the accuracy, reliability, and authenticity of internet evidence.

Recruiting and Hiring Agency AttorneysThis project studies the recruiting and hiring process for agency attorneys. Among other topics, it examines how agencies conduct outreach to potential attorney candidates, how agencies write vacancy announcements, how agencies assess applicants, and how and where agencies post job announcements. It also identifies potential ways to improve these practices.

Further updates will be provided as additional materials (i.e., draft reports and recommendations) become available.


This post is part of the Administrative Conference Update series, which highlights new and continuing projects, upcoming committee meetings, proposed and recently adopted recommendations, and other news about the Administrative Conference of the United States. The series is further explained here, and all posts in the series can be found here.

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About Emily Bremer

Emily S. Bremer is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame. Before joining the faculty, Professor Bremer taught at the University of Wyoming College of Law, served as the Research Chief of the Administrative Conference of the United States, worked as an associate in the telecommunications and appellate practice of Wiley Rein LLP, and clerked for Hon. Andrew J. Kleinfeld of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Her research focuses on administrative procedure and issues at the intersection of public and private governance, with a particular focus on the use of privately developed technical standards in government regulation.

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