OMB seeks new chief statistician

The Office of Management and Budget is ready to fill its opening for a full-time chief statistician, according to a USAJOBS posting on Monday.

The job has been open since January, when previous officeholder Nancy Potok retired from government. In the interim, the deputy administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Dominic Mancini, has been doing double duty as acting chief statistician.

Making between $131,239 and $197,300 annually, the chief statistician will be responsible for improving federal statistical activities and programs across more than 100 agencies while supervising OMB‘s Statistical Policy and Science Branch.

“The chief statistician of the United States is effectively the leader of the federal government’s decentralized statistical system and one of the most important career positions in public service for ensuring our government responsibly uses the data it is collecting,” Nick Hart, president of the Data Foundation, told FedScoop. “The chief statistician position was established by Congress to serve in a critical advisory capacity for ensuring agencies are collecting quality data that can be trusted by the American public.”

That includes co-leading the Federal Data Strategy, as well as chairing both the Interagency Committee on Statistical Policy established by the Paperwork Reduction Act and the new Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building created by the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act.

OMB’s chief statistician actually predates the Evidence Act, which took effect in January 2019. The act requires the 24 Chief Financial Officers Act agencies to appoint both chief data officers (CDOs) and career statistical officials, who work directly with OMB’s chief statistician.

CDOs differ from statistical officials in that they coordinate their agency’s data access and management policies, whereas the latter are responsible for assuring quality, relevance and confidentiality.

CFO Act agencies with an existing statistical office must designate its head as their statistical official, according to the Evidence-Based Policymaking Act.

OMB did not respond to a request for comment.