January 10, 2009

Julie Gerberding Has Resigned

CNN is reporting that the current head of the CDC has resigned effective January 20th. Mike Leavitt, current head of HHS asked for her resignation along with several other senior officials at CDC. Gerberding will be replaced by William H. Gimson, COO, will take over as interim director until a new director is appointed by the Obama administration.

Does this seem odd to anyone? Why would the current head of HHS get rid of the head of CDC and place an interim director rather than just leaving her there for Tom Daschle, new head of HHS, to do as he likes with the staffing? Is there some reason that Leavitt does not want Gerberding and her associates to be under the purview of and answering to, Tom Daschle and Barack Obama?
Leavitt explained his move this way: "The next phase of Transition involves the departure of our team on January 20, and the arrival of President-elect Obama's team later that day," his e-mail said. "In order to create a clear path for leadership transition, I am attaching a list of senior leaders who will become the acting heads of their respective agencies and offices (or in some cases, remain as heads of their respective agencies and offices) until the new administration appoints individuals to various leadership positions."
Is this normal? Are other agencies in the US government resigning and putting interim people in place on Jan 20th?

Don't get me wrong... I am thrilled to see her go. Trying not to be giddy about it frankly. But this strikes me as the same kind of thing as moving the Vaccine Safety Datalink overseas so it can't be accessed. Gerberding will have lots of damning information that she would have to give up to the new administration if she still worked for the US Government. Best move the source of that information out of the reach of those who are in position to ask the questions that Leavitt/Bush don't want asked.

(Clinton's CDC director stayed on almost two years into the Bush administration)

Anyone wanna start bets on where our friend Julie will land? Eli Lilly? Merck perhaps?

Well Good bye and good riddance Julie. I hope that the knowledge that a generation of children were severely developmentally disabled by your policies keeps you awake at night, just like the kids you made sick and their parents are awake at night, until you decide to do the right thing and tell the truth.

And for those of you interested in just why I hold Dr. Gerberding in such disdain, here is an overview of the premium quality Bullshit that she shoveled in regard to the autism epidemic that is crippling our country (and our family).

And here, again, is Julie in her finest hour:


The AJC is reporting that the Obama administration asked for her removal. Sorta.

The headline reads: "CDC director Gerberding resigns at Obama’s request"

But the text of the article just says "the Administration" requested the resignation, with out saying if they were referring to the Obama administration or the Bush administration. And the next "administration" that they referr to in the following sentence is Bush. So it is not clear if the headline is correct and Obama asked for her removal.

“As part of the transition process, the Administration requested resignation letters from a number of senior-level officials, including Dr. Julie Gerberding. This week, the Administration accepted Dr. Gerberding’s resignation, effective January 20. As Dr. Gerberding noted in a November e-mail to CDC leadership, she has always expected that she would be leaving after the administration changes,” the written statement said..

The article goes on to describe some of the mess that was Gerberdings CDC.

UPDATE: So apparently this replacement senario is happening with FDA as well, along with most of the health agencies. Is it ONLY the health agencies?

Most health agency heads replaced before Obama

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most of the heads of the U.S. agencies under the Health and Human Services Department will be replaced by their deputies by January 20, when Barack Obama is sworn in as president, employees learned on Friday.

An e-mail issued on Friday evening listed all of the agency heads who will go, ranging from the director of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention to the head of the Food and Drug Administration.

Incoming presidents traditionally name the heads of agencies, especially with a change of party. Obama, a Democrat, is replacing Republican George W. Bush.

Obama has named Tom Daschle, a former senator, to be head of the Health and Human Services Department. Daschle has said he will act quickly to name permanent new heads of agencies such as the FDA.

Here is a list of some of the affected agencies:

FDA - Frank Torti, now principal deputy commissioner and chief scientist, will replace Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach.

CDC - William Gimson, now chief operating officer, will replace Dr. Julie Gerberding, who resigned this week.

Rear Adm. Steven Galson is already the acting U.S. surgeon-general.

Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services - Charlene Frizzera, now chief operating officer, will replace acting director Kerry Weems.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality - Dr. Carolyn Clancy will stay on as director.

Administration for Children and Families - Curtis Coy, now deputy assistant secretary for administration, will replace Daniel Schneider.

National Institutes of Health - Raynard Kington is already acting director after Dr. Elias Zerhouni resigned last year.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - Eric Broderick will stay on as acting administrator.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by John O'Callaghan)

UPDATE: Salon.com's rundown of the damage she did:

But her tenure also proved controversial:

-- She instituted a large, morale-damaging reorganization of the agency that triggered an exodus of admired agency scientists. Gerberding said the changes made the CDC stronger. But in 2005, five previous CDC directors wrote Gerberding a joint letter expressing their concern about what was happening to the agency.

-- A 2004 medical journal article co-authored by Gerberding said obesity was about to overtake smoking as the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, but CDC officials later reported they had overstated the increase in obesity-related deaths by about 35,000. The mistake was blamed on a computer software error.

-- After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the agency was criticized for being slow to respond to survivors' complaints about formaldehyde fumes in trailers that had been provided by the government.

-- In 2007, she was criticized for going along with the White House's editing of her Senate testimony on the impact of climate change on health, which involved deletion of key portions citing diseases that could flourish in a warmer climate.

UPDATE: The Daily Kos parties as Julie Departs.


CDCChatter.net, unofficial hangout of CDC employees seems to breathing a collective sigh of relief. A few quotes:

So many takes, so little time. But the one I--and I dare say others--have found to be the most egregious and damaging is the placement of people into management positions that have absolutely no business being managers, and all the widespread fallout related to it. For example, being a good scientist doesn't automatically qualify someone as good manager material (nor vice versa, of course). Yet such square pegs seem to have been REPEATEDLY pounded into way too many round holes during Gerberding's tenure, to the detriment of many good people and amazing scientists, educators, analysts, programmers, etc. And really, "detriment" nowhere near captures the extent of the impact some have had to endure (myself included); in these cases, "destruction" is more than fair. Moreover, they often KNEW they were doing it. Even in the face of mounting internal and external scrutiny, mass staff exodus (either completely out of the agency or fleeing in droves from certain areas/managers within CDC to another), EEO complaints, direct staff protest, and so on, highly questionable people (to put it lightly) have been put in charge time and time again. As a result, I've painfully observed and myself experienced divisions, sections, teams and, most tragic of all, people, literally come apart at the seams.

Indeed it was the placement of people in key positions who had no background in the science and purpose of public health. An inordinate amount of attention was paid to centralizing decisions that effectively marginalized the judgement and experience of experienced qualified experts. Basic knowledge of public health functions was not a core value of the reorganization. It was more about creating endless levels of "executive" and other boards that have resulted in nothing of any matter happening at all. Enormous expenditures were engaged to centralize goals, dialogue, and decision making that would have been best left to those closest to the real work of this agency. At a time when inovative, young companies were moving towards flat hierarchy structures, the reorganization aimed to create a multi-layered structure that protected the power of the director and marginalized the highly trained (from new hire to experienced oldsters) who became "content experts" for communication strategies and the like.

Ding dong the witch is dead...
When every dictator falls the new leaders must clean out those who collaborated with the fallen regime. All JLu's Yes-men must be swept out and take the Coordinating Centers, Goals, SBU, and SSPU with them.

For six years, Julie has been the Great OZ, with all the smoke and fire. She goes no where, does nothing, without the Wizard behind the curtain- William Gimson. Bill, who just happens to have a Masters in Business Administration. Ironic how "Futures" took a "business" like structure, with some perverse modifications. How many examples do we need, before we realize that Julie was just the "face", while Bill was the "power"?
I hope that who ever come into this office, has a broom and sledge hammer. Dismantle the Julie-Bill (et al) "management" clones along with the deeper and wider silos of Futures. Knock down the Centers. While at it, remind the Information Technology people of their purpose, who they work for and that without the clients, they have no reason to exist. Same can be said going up the "food chain".

"Ding-dong..." isn't right. Its been, "Ignore that man behind the curtain!"


Chrissy said...

I'm glad to see her go, but would love to have access to all the secrets she will take with her. Thanks so much for this thorough and informative post.

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