Bill Richardson, the under-fire secretary of energy who would be vice president, may find himself looking for a new job altogether. Sources in his department tell us of the low morale there, which has manifested itself into a broad disapproval of the secretary.
Once hailed as a man who could bring the department to its proper status, he is now viewed as having accomplished that feat through negative publicity. There have been so many problems in the department relating to national security that at least the public is now aware of the department's importance.
But who is Bill Richardson? Does he have the managerial experience to lead one of the nation's largest public organizations? Here is his resume:
— Bill Richardson was born on Nov. 15, 1947.
— He received his bachelor of arts degree from Tufts University in 1970 and a master of arts degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1971.
— As a seven-term congressman from New Mexico, Richardson served as the chief deputy Democratic whip and actively participated in the House's Commerce, Resources and Intelligence committees.
— Prior to his post as secretary of energy, Bill Richardson served simultaneously as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (1997-98), a member of the president's Cabinet as well as a member of the National Security Council. He helped in hostage negotiations in Croatia, Burma, Cuba, Iraq, North Korea and Sudan.
— While ambassador to the United Nations, Richardson helped in negotiations with Iraq, Zaire and Afghanistan.
— After being unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Bill Richardson became Secretary of Energy on Aug. 18, 1998.
— In the Clinton administration, Richardson is the highest-ranking Hispanic person.
— He has served as a special envoy for President Clinton "on sensitive diplomatic missions around the world" and was formerly the vice chairman for the Democratic National Committee.
— He has had three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The resume is impressive but clearly lacks an essential ingredient: management experience. Positions such as ambassador to the United Nations and member of the House of Representatives entail the management of nothing more than small staffs. This does not prepare anyone for the intricate responsibilities of large-scale management that could be garnered from such positions as governor, general or business executive.
So Richardson's problems are twofold. He has an overweening ambition to become vice president and he has no major managerial experience. This fatal combination, we and many (probably most) of his employees believe, is what is leading to the department's failures — and will soon lead to his downfall.
United Feature Syndicate Inc.