not pretty…

Posted on Wednesday 30 April 2008

TPM points us to this:

Lurita Doan, head of the General Services Administration, was forced to offer her resignation tonight, according to an e-mail she sent out this evening. Doan was appointed in late May, 2006, becoming the first woman to serve as GSA Administrator. With 12,000 employees and a $20 billion annual budget, GSA has responsibilty for overseeing the thousands of building and properties owned by the federal government.

Doan became the subject of congressional scrutiny last year for allegedly using GSA to help Republican lawmakers win re-election. Doan denied the allegation, but her appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was disastrous. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the panel, called on Doan to resign over the allegations, but Doan refused to do so. Here is the text of the e-mail that Doan sent out earlier this evening announcing her forced resignation:

Dear Friends and Colleagues at GSA,

Early this evening I was asked to submit my resignation, and I have just done so. It has been a great privilege to serve with all of you and to serve our nation and a great President.

The past twenty-two months have been filled with accomplishments: together, we have regained our clean audit opinion, restored fiscal discipline, re-tooled our ability to respond to emergencies, rekindled entrepreneurial energies, reduced bureaucratic barriers to small companies to get a GSA Schedule, ignited a building boom at our nation’s ports of entries, boldly led the nation in an aggressive telework initiative, and improved employee morale so that we were selected as one of the best places to work in the Federal government.

These accomplishments are made even more enjoyable by the fact that there were lots of people who told us they could never be done. Best of luck to all of you, it has been a true honor.

I had a couple of reactions to this. Lurita Doan looked pretty bad in those hearings. She had stumped for the Administration with her employees in a way that is actually against the Law, and was indignant at being called on it. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was very ugly. And in this email, she starts angrily, essentially saying that she was fired. She then goes on to list her accomplishments – which on first reading seems bizarre. Where’s the apology for being a part of the politicalization of our government?

On the other hand, she was "the first woman to serve as GSA Administrator." And like being the first real female Presidential Candidate [Hillary Clinton] or the first real black candidate [Barak Obama], she had a hard road to travel, even in the 21st century. I suppose it’s a little bit like those little black kids who registered for school in the segregated southern states surrounded by hate and policemen.

Her anger is understandable. She was in a governmental culture that asked for what she gave them – Administration loyalty rather than Constitutional loyalty. She gave them what they asked for, and then was publicly humiliated for doing it. I guess she has the right to be angry. She won’t be remembered as "the first woman to serve as GSA Administrator." She’ll be remembered as the person who said, "How can we help our candidates?"

We respect the people who fought back – James Comey, Jack Goldsmith, Paul O’niell, Richard Clarke, as we should. But a lot of the people who went along with the corrupt politicized culture created by Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and Mr. Rove were just trying to please. I don’t know about Lurita Doan – whether she was someone caught up in something sick, or part of the sickness itself. But it’s a distinction that matters. Viet Nam was a very wrong War, but we know that the majority of soldiers who fought and died in it were patriots doing their duty. We have something in common with Lurita Doan and the soldiers who fought in unjust wars. We were betrayed.

But back to the first hand and those hearings, it wasn’t pretty…

Update: "The White House asked her to resign and she tendered her resignation yesterday, sources confirmed."
    May 1, 2008 | 8:37 PM

    All I can say about Lurita Doan being fired is good riddance.

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