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Column: In 2011 it’s Time to Stop “Acting” and Confirm Leaders

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Something seems terribly wrong when we see federal law enforcement agencies headed up for years by people who are “acting” heads.

Michele Leonhart of the DEA was the acting head since 2007 — up until the end of December.  Finally, just before the holidays, the Senate confirmed her appointment as the DEA administrator.  Sorry, but that’s  way way too long to have an acting head of any agency.

And now we have to wait for the appointment of a number two person at DEA, which requires Senate approval as well.

At ATF, Kenneth Melson has been acting head since April 2009. It’s now 2011. Just recently President Obama nominated Andrew Traver of the Chicago ATF office to head up that agency. Who knows how long that will take for the Senate to decide his fate?

Elsewhere, two years into the Obama administration, only 76 U.S. Attorneys have been confirmed. There are 94 U.S. Attorney offices. And to boot, there are plenty of federal judicial seats that remain vacant.

It’s 2011. It’s time to step it up. The Obama administration needs to step it up. The Senate needs to step it up.  Whatever the reason for the delays — the political bickering, procrastination —   it needs to stop.

The American people are getting screwed. Organizations need permanent heads.  “Acting” heads seldom have the same juice, the same influence needed to make an organization operate at peak efficiency.

Sure there are plenty of other things weighing on the minds of the White House and Congress.  A dearth of jobs. A wimpering economy.  Afghanistan. Iraq. On and on and on.

But last I checked, the American people cared about fraud and scams and  murder and gun trafficking to Mexico and terrorism. Liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, black or white,  Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim or Hindu,  lover of Sarah Palin or  hater of Sarah Palin,  meat eater or vegetarian, it’s fair to say these people care about quality of life issues. They want to be protected from the Madoffs and the bin Ladins and the deadly Mexican cartels.

The White House and Congress need to step on the gas and get to where they need to go.

Now!


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