News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Cox, Goss lack experience they need for SEC, CIA

President Bush made another bizarre decision when he tapped U.S. Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif., to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.

His previous troublesome appointment was U.S. Rep. Porter J. Goss, R-Fla., to the post of director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Being a congressman should not, by itself, disqualify someone from managing massive U.S. agencies. Their political careers count for little, however, as an indicator of whether they can effectively and efficiently manage thousands of employees.

Rep. Cox's only management experience was in the early 1980s when he headed the corporate department of a branch office of a law firm in Orange County, Calif.

The SEC has more than 3,000 employees and a billion-dollar budget.

Mr. Goss's only management experience was supervising a small staff when he was mayor of tiny Sanibel, Fla., population 6,064.

The CIA has about 20,000 employees and a secret budget estimated to be several billion dollars.

The issue is not whether Mr. Cox or Mr. Goss are intelligent. It may even be that they have expertise in the subject matters pertinent to their agencies.

The problem is that their management abilities are an unknown.

This nation is filled to the brim with chief executive officers who have pulled their companies through the rigorous testing grounds of free enterprise to success.

Many such CEOs have managed brokerage and financial firms, so unlike Mr. Cox they have demonstrated expertise in both the subject matter and in management.

Many such CEOs have succeeded in multinational, multi-language enterprises, unlike Mr. Goss.

Most such CEOs are even Republicans.

Mr. Bush's conservative cry is that unrestricted competition brings the best to the top. With so many executives who have thrived in competition, why does Mr. Bush ignore those that the free market has tested and approved?

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