Washington, DC…Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced her support for the nomination of Kiran Ahuja to be director of the Office of Personnel Management. Ahuja recently told Senator Feinstein that, if confirmed, she would work to help resolve the pay disparity between federal and state firefighters, a critical issue as California enters what is expected to be another devastating wildfire season and federal agencies attempt to staff their ranks of wildland firefighters. The pay disparity is a leading cause of federal staffing shortfalls in wildland firefighting.
“I’m pleased to support the nomination of Kiran Ahuja to be director of the Office of Personnel Management.
“Ms. Ahuja has more than two decades of experience in public service and the philanthropic sector, including a senior role in OPM under President Obama. She has a breadth of knowledge and experience that will serve her well in the role.
“In particular I’m looking forward to working with her to resolve a critical pay disparity issue between state and federal wildland firefighters. State firefighter salaries can be as much as double that of their federal counterparts, making it difficult to hire and retain skilled federal wildland firefighters.
“Ms. Ahuja indicated to me that she understands the seriousness of the wildfire threat and will work to address the inequities in pay between state and federal firefighters. This issue is particularly important in California where more than half our forests are on federal land and are extremely susceptible to devastating wildfire.
“I encourage all of my colleagues to support Ms. Ahuja’s nomination.”