Sunday, December 12, 2004

Stepping Down: Nominee for U.S. Secretary of DHS

Just a few days ago, I read a commentary about Bernard Kerik that I did not like. I thought to myself, “Why the heck would the President appoint this man to be in charge of the entire Homeland defense?

I will find that story – or stuff related to it and show you why. But to give you what I remember from it off the top of my head… I read that Kerik had five homicide detectives canvass the neighborhoods of NYC in search of some stolen items. What I could remember was there was a cell phone, necklace, and credit cards involved. There were about five items total I believe. Hence the five homicide detectives. But the sad thing is – here he sent these HOMICIDE detectives to go looking for allegedly stolen goods (I thought Homicide meant someone died…not someone stole something) and they knocked on the doors of like five people who worked at the Publishing company that was to publish Kerik’s biography. These people felt very upset by what happened. Come to find out, the items were all recovered because they were all misplaced or in the obvious places to look: trashcan, bottom of purse, drawer, etc. Kerik sent his homicide buddies out to go take care of a lady’s missing items all because that lady was gonna publish his book. Hmmm.

The story was meant to point out how Kerik abuses his power of authority. And that was only one example.

So I was getting all upset over this new nominee choice when suddenly, I read the news and …HOORAY! He’s stepping down! And…OH…what’s this? There’s some malarkey going on, eh? Hmmm. Well by golly, I guess that’s been going on for some time. But see, he was put in the lime light and investigations into his personal life had to be made before he could be trusted with the most prestigious position of protecting the people of this country. How can he protect the people of this country from others when he can’t even protect himself from himself?

The President had this to say about him:
"Bernie Kerik is one of the most accomplished and effective leaders of law enforcement in America," Bush said in nominating Kerik to be the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. "In every position he has demonstrated a deep commitment to justice, a heart for the innocent and a record of great success."

And former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said this about him:
"When you see him, he's a big strong guy and a black belt," said Giuliani. "What you get to know when you work with him is how smart he is ... how effective and sophisticated a manager he is."

Well these are all good traits indeed. These are things we need demonstrated in important security positions. However, someone in such a trusted position needs to maintain an untainted off-duty life as well.

Giuliani had this to say also:
Kerik, according to Giuliani, is a manager who inspires by example and by his life story, coming from a troubled childhood to serve as New York's top cop and now the likely leader of the nation's terrorism-prevention agency.

Hmmm… psychology brain working: Is it possible his troubled childhood had an effect on his poor personal decisions?

Same article says:
"I call upon the U.S. Senate to take a hard look at Bernard Kerik's past management," said Norman Siegel. "This was a Department of Correction where political loyalty trumped merit."
Kerik's supporters say if he rubs people the wrong way, it's only because he demands high standards in everything he does.

And so the U.S. Senate did. It took a hard look at Bernard Kerik’s everything. If he demands high standards in everything he does, he should have met those standards as well. A little dirt can hurt for someone appointed to the responsibility of managing Homeland Security.

Kerik had this to say as part of his reason for stepping down:
``In the course of completing documents required for Senate confirmation, I uncovered information that now leads me to question the immigration status of a person who had been in my employ as a housekeeper and nanny,'' he wrote.
``It has also been brought to my attention that for a period of time during such employment, required tax payments and related filings had not been made,'' Kerik wrote.

Well the good news is that he plans to make restitution for avoiding the IRS way back when he had this housekeeper/nanny. But it makes a person wonder, “If he’s in the position of security, would he not consider the legalities involved in a personal affair such as hiring a nanny/housekeeper?” I mean, come on: evading taxes, illegal alien, paying under the table. Dude, Wake Up. We’re not buying this whole, “Well it came to my attention…and leads me to question.” You knew it. You just blew it.

Another possible reason he may have stepped down is:
The withdrawal letter followed a New York Times report that Kerik, 49, became rich working for companies that do business with the department he will oversee. The Wall Street Journal said Kerik would face questions in the U.S. Senate about his role as former corporate director at Taser International Inc., a maker of stun guns for law enforcement agencies.

It’s bad enough the illegal alien, tax evasion, and paying under the table deal was all brought out in the open. Let’s not get into his life as former corporate director of a company that does business with the DHS, eh? He dropped out of the nomination. Let him rectify these loose ends and call it good. Any other loose ends, he should take care of now while he’s free of scrutiny.

"He has a strategy of listening to what his managers have to say, giving them clear direction and holding them accountable for getting it done," said Rising, who served as Kerik's special adviser and counsel at the NYPD. "He sets a clear focus for people that work for him and he gives people the tools to see it through."

He seemed to be the kind of guy that people wanted in the role… so hopefully this is a humbling experience to him to realize that your private life isn’t so private once you enter the field of politics.

“I am convinced that for personal reasons, moving forward would not be in the best interests of your administration, the Department of Homeland Security, or the American people,” Kerik wrote to Bush in a letter that was released by the White House.

I must say of Kerik that he’s a good man to step down willingly than to be forced out of office and create more scandal for Bush. Bush already admitted in his debates that he made some bad choices in people he appointed on his cabinet the last go around. This is a saving grace for him this go around.

About DHS:
The creation of the department in 2003 combined 22 disparate federal agencies with more than 180,000 employees and a combined budget of $36 billion. The organization is still learning to work together and faces criticism over aspects from the coordination of finances to computer systems.

No comments: