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Acosta's resignation means Labor secretary added to list of Trump posts with 'acting' leaders

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 7/12/2019 Michael Collins

Alexander Acosta wearing a suit and tie: Labor Secretary Alex Acosta speaks during a media availability session at the Department of Labor on July 10, 2019, in Washington, DC. © Alex Brandon, AP Labor Secretary Alex Acosta speaks during a media availability session at the Department of Labor on July 10, 2019, in Washington, DC. WASHINGTON – A temporary gig isn’t necessarily temporary in President Donald Trump’s administration.

Staff departures or internal shakeups have left more than a dozen federal departments or agencies operating with temporary, or “acting,” heads instead of a permanent leader. Two of the acting heads have been in their role for more than a year.

The latest addition to Trump's band of temporary leaders is Pat Pizzella, whom Trump named as acting Labor Secretary on Friday after Alex Acosta announced his resignation.

Trump seems in no hurry to replace some of his “acting” leaders.

“I like acting,” he told reporters in January, saying the temporary positions give him more flexibility.

Here’s a closer look at the departments and agencies that currently are operating without a permanent leader:

White House Chief of Staff

Mick Mulvaney wearing a suit and tie: Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff. © Jacquelyn Martin/AP Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff. Mick Mulvaney is officially acting chief of staff even though he has been in the job since January.

Labor secretary

Trump named Pat Pizzella as acting secretary on Friday after Acosta announced his resignation. Acosta stepped down amid the furor over a plea deal he made more than a decade ago with wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, a sex offender charged with human trafficking girls as young as 14. Acosta was the top federal prosecutor for the Southern District of Florida at the time.

Defense secretary

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper © Yuri Gripas Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper The department has been operating with an acting secretary since Jim Mattis stepped down at the end of December over differences with Trump. Patrick Shanahan served as acting secretary and was Trump’s pick to assume the position full time. But Shanahan withdrew from consideration in June after USA TODAY published a story that detailed an FBI examination of a violent domestic dispute in 2010 between Shanahan and his then-wife. The current acting secretary is Mark Esper.

Office of Management and Budget

Russell Vought became acting director of the agency after Mulvaney moved into his current position as White House acting chief of staff. Mulvaney still holds the title of director, but the White House refers to Vought as acting director.

Homeland Security secretary

a man wearing a suit and tie: Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan © Mark Wilson, Getty Images Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan

Kevin K. McAleenan has been serving as acting secretary since April, when Kirstjen Nielsen resigned amid tensions with Trump and others in the White House who felt she hadn’t done enough to stem border crossings.

Nominees no more: Trump’s picks for administration jobs keep dropping out

U.N. ambassador

Nikki Haley, Donald Trump sitting on a bench: Nikki Haley and President Donald Trump on Oct. 9, 2018, in Washington, D.C. © Mark Wilson/Getty Images Nikki Haley and President Donald Trump on Oct. 9, 2018, in Washington, D.C.

Jonathan Cohen has been serving as acting ambassador since Nikki Haley’s departure at the end of December. Trump has nominated Kelly Craft, who currently is serving as U.S. ambassador to Canada, to fill the position, but she is awaiting confirmation by the Senate.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Pete T. Gaynor has been serving as acting FEMA administrator since March 8, following the resignation of Brock Long amid questions over his use of government vehicles and resources to travel back to his North Carolina home. Gaynor had served as Long’s deputy.

Federal Aviation Administration

Dan Elwell has been serving as acting administrator since Michael Huerta’s five-year term ended on Jan. 6, 2018.

Food and Drug Administration

Norman Sharpless has been acting administrator since April 5, replacing Scott Gottlieb, who resigned after two years as head of the agency.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

The agency has been headed for the past two years by Loren Sweatt, who is acting assistant secretary of labor.

Consumer Product Safety Commission

Ann Marie Buerkle has been serving as acting chairwoman since Feb. 9, 2017.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli has been serving as acting director since June 10.

Customs and Border Protection

a man wearing a suit and tie: Mark Morgan © Cliff Owen, AP Mark Morgan

Mark Morgan, Trump's former head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, officially became acting commissioner in July, replacing John Sanders, who resigned amid a public outcry over how migrant children have been treated at the border.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Matthew Albence became acting director in July following Morgan’s departure for his new role as acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.

Migrant raids: Immigration advocates brace for ICE roundups across country: 'The goal is to terrorize'

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Acosta's resignation means Labor secretary added to list of Trump posts with 'acting' leaders

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