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Monday, November 06, 2006

Bush picks Homeland Security management chief

President Bush announced late Thursday the nomination of a former Defense Department senior executive to lead management efforts at the Homeland Security Department.

If confirmed, Paul Schneider will become the undersecretary for management at DHS, filling a job left vacant with the May departure of Janet Hale, the department's first management chief. Scott Charbo, the department's chief information officer, replaced Hale on an interim basis, spokesman Larry Orluskie said.

The schedule for Schneider's confirmation has yet to be determined. Orluskie said Charbo will continue to serve as both CIO and management undersecretary until Schneider is approved.

If confirmed, Schneider will have DHS' line of business chiefs - the chief financial officer, the chief information officer, the chief procurement officer, the chief human capital officer and the chief administrative officer - reporting to him. He also would have input on budget requests and oversee some segments of how the department's new personnel system will be implemented. Schneider was not available for comment.

Hale spent three years as DHS' undersecretary of management, and earned Chertoff's praise for her role uniting the 22 legacy agencies and 180,000 workers that formed the department.

But the position itself has been criticized: the Government Accountability Office and DHS' former inspector general said the departmental structure failed to provide business chiefs with adequate authority. They called for DHS to consider reorganizing the management directorate to provide the chiefs that authority, but officials deflected the criticisms and opted to continue with the existing chain of command, with the exception of the CFO. The financial chief now has a dual report to management chief and the secretary.

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