The Obama administration's tough rules about who it will hire and its increasingly rigorous vetting process are complicating Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's team-building efforts, government officials say, at a time when his agency faces a punishing workload brought on by the worst financial crisis in decades.
The delay leaves Mr. Geithner without many chief lieutenants while the Treasury is spending hundreds of billions of dollars to try to blunt the financial crisis -- and hustling to stay abreast of unfolding events. Mr. Geithner himself is taking on a bigger workload and relying on a skeleton crew of advisers, including some holdovers from former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's staff.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it's your 2009 Indispensable Man!
It's a paradox worth pondering that the ethics rules so beloved of good government types often lead to the exclusion of effective, ethical people from government. Instead, the government is often populated with people like, say, Secretary Geithner who are rendered untouchable so long as they meet the letter of the law; but, if they don't, then an "exception" will be made. I'd say the Treasury Department would be better off with fewer ethical hurdles and more streamlined hiring.