Thursday, March 5, 2009

Personnel Issues

The Obama Administration ran into a couple of personnel issues today. Bloomberg reports:

Former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission member Annette Nazareth has taken herself out of the running to be deputy Treasury secretary, according to people familiar with the matter.

Nazareth, who hadn’t been nominated, was warned that her SEC work would be assailed at Senate confirmation hearings, the people said. Before becoming a commissioner, Nazareth was head of the SEC’s market regulation division where she helped design an oversight regime that has been criticized for missing Wall Street’s excessive risk taking.

Nazareth’s decision is a setback for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who is without any confirmed senior aides as he grapples with the global financial crisis.

Nazareth Said to Withdraw for Deputy Treasury Post (Update4)

Yes, it's true, I don't know much about banks and other financial institutions. But can it really be that tough to find someone who wasn't asleep at the switch for the last ten years while all the shenanigans were going on? It's hard to believe this is the best they can do.

On a related note, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has decided he doesn't want to be considered for Surgeon General. Back in January, I argued that there was already a better alternative:

Why don't I find Gupta all that inspiring a choice for Surgeon General? After all, he's someone who's used to communicating with the public, which is an important part of the job. He's an accomplished doctor and academic, even though his specialty strikes some as a bit limited. However, besides his apparent bias toward keeping the broken parts of our medical system the way they are, there's a more basic difficulty - the possible alternatives. There are plenty of good choices who have at least as much relevant experience, and who aren't influenced by big pharma or the insurance companies. John Conyer's choice for the job is an example:

Alas, although CNN, and other national news organizations have covered Conyers' opposition to Gupta, they've failed to raise the public profile of Dr. Herbert Smitherman, the assistant dean at the WSU School of Medicine who is Conyers' on-record pick as the surgeon general.

Universal Health Care? Dream On

He sounds like he's worth a look. Let's see if the Obama team finally gets this right. (h/t Lotus)


Dana Hunter said...

Howard Dean's name got floated by Think Progress. Too lazy to link it just now, but at least either choice would be megaparsecs better than Sanjay Gupta.

I mean, seriously.

When you drop by my place, be sure to click the linky to Hilzoy's piece. Kinda sorta related, enough for me to get away with linking you, anyway. ;-)

Cujo359 said...

Either would be good. I was hoping they'd name Dean as SecHHS. One advantage Dr. Smitherman has as SG is that he's still practicing, at least somewhat. This is a role, ISTM, that would be best filled by someone who is still in the profession.