The exodus of managers from the Department of Homeland Security over the last two years has concerned shippers, carriers, and other transportation stakeholders. Now those departures have reached the highest levels of the embattled agency.
Late last month, Deputy Secretary Michael P. Jackson left DHS. Jackson, who had submitted his resignation in September, cited financial reasons for his departure.
That gave House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson fodder for criticism of DHS in general and Secretary Michael Chertoff in particular. "Secretary Jackson's departure reaffirms two things we've known for some time: that DHS employees suffer from the lowest morale in the federal workforce and that the department's leadership has more holes than Swiss cheese," Thompson said in a statement.
Thompson noted that in May, nearly one in four leadership positions at DHS was vacant. The Mississippi Democrat suggested that was just a symptom of deeperrooted problems. Cluelessness might be one of them: When Chertoff appeared before a congressional oversight committee in early September, he told Thompson that he did not know of any other staff departures in the works.