Last Friday, TWN reported that Paul Wolfowitz was engaging in personnel appointment strategies that were beginning to smell of partisan cronyism.
By Monday, a staff letter was sent to Wolfowitz expressing sentiments of significant “dismay” about the President’s appointment of political hacks in key positions that should be open to transparent competition — with decisions made on the basis of merit.
Today, Paul Blustein of the Washington Post adds more to the story and reports on the letter and Wolfowitz’s troubling pattern of management decisions.
From Paul Blustein’s piece:
Tensions flared yesterday between World Bank President Paul D. Wolfowitz and bank employees, as the bank’s staff association criticized some of Wolfowitz’s recent appointments and Wolfowitz fired back that he was trying to correct lax enforcement of the bank’s internal corruption rules.
The controversy is the starkest sign of discontent among the staff nine months after President Bush chose Wolfowitz to head the bank. Wolfowitz is a former deputy defense secretary best known for his role in planning the invasion of Iraq.
In a letter circulated yesterday evening to bank staffers, the staff association chair, Alison Cave, raised pointed questions about last week’s appointment of Suzanne Rich Folsom, a bank official with Republican party ties, to head the Department of Institutional Integrity, a unit that investigates misconduct and corruption at the bank. The letter also cited the recent naming of Kevin S. Kellems, a former aide to Vice President Cheney, as the bank’s top communications strategist.
Their selection, the letter suggested, had been undertaken without a properly open and competitive process, potentially undermining the bank’s ability to persuade developing countries to adopt transparent and clean procedures in hiring and procurement. “We are concerned . . . that the positions were not filled in accordance with established recruitment procedures, which exemplify our commitment to good governance,” the letter said.
Those at the bank who have thoughts on this evolving situation — or insider information — on Wolfowitz’s agenda, feel free to contact me.
— Steve Clemons