The White House announced Friday that President Bush intends to designate Richard Stickler as acting assistant secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.
Stickler, a West Virginia native, had held a recess appointment to that post. But that expired Dec. 31 as his MSHA bio page notes.
Update: The Associated Press clarifies the situation. "Stickler could have been limited to a 210-day stay starting from Bush's designation Friday," AP reports. "But since his latest nomination is still pending in the Senate, the White House says, the time limit does not apply and Stickler will likely serve until the end of the Bush administration."
The Democratic-controlled Senate has so far refused to approve his nomination, AP also noted.
The Charleston Gazette reported earlier that agency staffer John Pallasch had been named acting assistant secretary, and has a bulletin on the latest development.
"The initial article noted that "it’s not clear how long Pallasch will be running the $340 million agency or if President Bush plans to submit a different nominee to Congress."
"Amy Louviere, an MSHA spokeswoman, declined to answer such questions. Louviere referred a reporter to David James, the top spokesman for Labor Secretary Elaine Chao," the article said. "James did not return repeated phone calls. In an e-mail response, James said that, under the federal Vacancies Act, Pallasch took over immediately upon Stickler's departure. James did not elaborate on what Chao's plans are for MSHA leadership through the rest of Bush's term."