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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 27, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 04
Mass resignation at State Department

Entire management team resigns as Trump appointee takes charge
Section One
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Mass resignation at State Department

Entire management team resigns as Trump appointee takes charge

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Donald Trump's State Department is in chaos after an entire layer of senior management officials quit rather than deal with the new president's transition team.

Four top officials resigned on January 25, as Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson was being briefed on the department. Those leaving are:

o Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy,

o Assistant Secretary of State for Administration Joyce Anne Barr,

o Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Michele Bond, and

o Ambassador Gentry O. Smith, Director of the Office of Foreign Missions.

All are career foreign service officers who have served under both Republican and Democratic administrations, according to the Washington Post.

Tillerson was reportedly seeking a replacement for Kennedy, who has been at his post for the past nine years. Kennedy had been actively involved in trying to facilitate the transition to a Trump administration and 'and was angling to keep [his] job under Tillerson,' the Post said.

Besides the four who quit January 25, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr left the State Department on January 20, and the Director of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations, Lydia Muniz, departed the same day.

That means that almost all the senior officials that manage the State Department, its overseas posts, and its personnel are gone.

Several senior foreign service officers in the State Department's regional bureaus have also left their posts since the election.

'It's the single biggest simultaneous departure of institutional memory that anyone can remember, and that's incredibly difficult to replicate,' said David Wade, who served as State Department chief of staff under Secretary of State John Kerry.

'Department expertise in security, management, administrative, and consular positions in particular are very difficult to replicate and particularly difficult to find in the private sector.'

According to Ambassador Richard Boucher, who served as State Department spokesman for Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, career foreign service officers are crucial to a functioning State Department, as well as to implementing the new president's agenda, whatever it may be. 'You don't run foreign policy by making statements, you run it with thousands of people working to implement programs every day,' Boucher said. 'To undercut that is to undercut the institution.'

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