Tillerson frustrated with State Department's slow hiring

By Politics FOXBusiness

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, arrives in the prime minister's official residence to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in Tokyo, Japan, Thursday, March 16, 2017. Tillerson called on North Korea Thursday to abandon its nuclear ... and ballistic missile programs, saying the isolated nation "need not fear" the United States. (Franck Robichon/Pool Photo via AP)

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed his displeasure with the hiring process at the State Department Thursday, where many positions still remain vacant.

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When asked whether he is satisfied with the pace of hiring within the department during a press gathering with Togolese Foreign Minister Robert Dussey Thursday, Tillerson said "I'd like it to go faster."

The secretary of state shared a heated exchange with the head of the presidential personnel office—John DeStefano — on Friday, according to Politico, over DeStefano’s rejection of some of Tillerson’s nominees. Politico reported that the secretary of state is frustrated that others in the administration are questioning his judgement within his own department.

The State Department had no comment on the matter.

In February, Tillerson’s pick to fill the No. 2 spot at the State Department – Elliott Abrams – was rejected by the White House. That post is now occupied by John Sullivan.

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Hiring at the agency has gotten off to a slow start, partly because reorganization within the department could ultimately end up eliminating some of the open slots. A slew of high-level resignations at the end of January also has not helped matters.

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As previously reported by FOX Business, the relationship between Tillerson and State Department staffers started off a bit turbulent. Amid requests by the Trump administration to cut the State Department’s budget by 28 percent in 2018, there are also calls for the elimination of 2,300 positions within the department through a combination of attrition and buyouts. Sources told FOX Business that employees felt as though Tillerson did not “defend” them against White House efforts to streamline and cut personnel.

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