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Eye Opener: Obama Taps More Nominees

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Tuesday! President Obama has tapped several more people to serve in various government roles at the departments of Commerce, Defense, Education, Interior, Labor, Transportation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Obama named John Fernandez his assistant secretary of commerce for economic development. He served as a senior adviser and fundraiser for Obama for Change in Indiana.

Anthony Marion Babauta is Obama's choice to be the Interior Department's assistant secretary for insular areas. He previously worked as staff director of the House Natural Resources Committee's subcommittee on insular affairs, oceans, and wildlife.

Over at the Labor Department, the president has asked Joseph A. Main to serve as assistant secretary for mine safety and health.

Alexa E. Posny's name will be submitted for consideration as assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services at the Education Department. She's currently the Kansas state education commissioner.

Christopher P. Bertram is currently a staffer with the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Obama has nominated him for assistant secretary for budget and programs and CFO at the Transportation Department.

Terry A. Yonkers will be tapped to serve as assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations and environment. He's currently a senior vice president at ARCADIS-US. Inc.

Veteran firefighter and former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin James Cochran has been asked to serve as U.S. fire administrator at FEMA.

Joseph G. Pizarchik has been asked to serve as director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement at the Interior Department. He's a 17-year veteran of Pennsylvania's mining program.

If confirmed, Daniel R. Elliott III will serve as chairman of the Surface Transportation Board. He's served as associate general counsel of the United Transportation Union since 1993.

Public radio veteran Patricia D. Cahill has been tapped to serve as a member of the board of directors at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. She's currently general manager of KCUR-FM in Kansas City.

Minor positions yes, but ask anyone who works at these agencies or offices, and they'll tell you they're critical to the operations of the federal government.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. For up-to-the-minute federal news updates, follow The Federal Eye on Twitter.

Other Cabinet and Staff News: Kal Penn (a.k.a. Kalpen Modi) starts working at the White House. Former defense secretary Robert McNamara remembered. Other likely appointments at NEA and NSC. Hillary Rodham Clinton to meet with ousted Honduran leader.

New Rules on Stem Cell Research Announced: The new guidelines were announced by officials at the National Institutes of Health. In an important shift from draft guidelines issued April 23, the NIH announced that stem lines developed before guidelines go into effect today will not need to meet the letter of new ethics requirements.

Airlines Blast DOJ Opposition to Cooperation Plan: Nine airlines in the global Star Alliance and aspiring member Continental Airlines criticize the department's objections to their plans to cooperate more closely on international routes, fares and capacity.

Researchers: Social Security Numbers Can Be Guessed: It's a finding that could compromise the security of one of the most widely used consumer identifiers in the United States. "For reasons unrelated to this report, the agency has been developing a system to randomly assign SSNs," which should make it more difficult to discover numbers in the future, according to a Social Security Administration spokesman.

Have U.S. Border Guards Become Meaner?: Many Canadians think so, according to the Toronto-based Globe and Mail, but it may be more than a matter of temperment: "The reality is that they are likely to be younger, under more pressure and – should you give them a reason – yes, meaner."

Coast Guard Management Gets a Makeover: The changes under way in financial management and logistics are part of a broader modernization plan Adm. Thad Allen has spearheaded since becoming commandant.

Few Postal Employees Take Latest Early Retirement Offer: Fewer than 2 percent of employees who were offered a chance at early retirement last month accepted, far less than postal management expected.

CFTC Floats Rules Aimed at Speculation: The agency will announce today that it will consider new measures to curb speculation in the markets for energy and other commodities.

Industry Takes Aim at Plan to Create Financial Protection Agency: A coalition of business representatives, who are skeptical about a proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency, has met repeatedly in recent weeks to hone their argument that a new regulator could cause more harm than good and to strategize about which members of Congress might be sympathetic to their cause.

The Senate's Champion of Civil Service: An Eye profile of Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), who now regularly speaks about rank-and-file federal employees from the floor of the Senate.

By Ed O'Keefe  | July 7, 2009; 6:20 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Revolving Door  
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