Bob Leuver is a regular E-Sylum reader and contributor. A former Executive Director of the American Numismatic Association, before that Bob was the Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C. from 1983–1988. He's probably tired of hearing jokes that "he made more money than Warren Buffett and Bill Gates combined." Bob submitted these thoughts inspired by our earlier discussion of the tenure of political appointees such as Directors of the Mint and B.E.P.
The Director of the US Mint has been favored a bit more than other political positions in the Federal government, at least regarding their tenure.
I remember J. Elton Greenlee, my boss, and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration, did a study on the length of tenure, or, at least, the time that political appointees spent in their appointed position. Mr. Greenlee was a career Federal employee. Our discussion took place at the time of the Ford (R) Carter (D) change of administration.
Mr. Greenlee's study found that the average tenure of political appointees was 18 months. That study included the position of Director of the Mint.
For some 50 years, and even through today, the Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is a career Federal employee, who, generally, has risen through the ranks.
The fact that the BEP is the only Federal agency operating entirely on a commercial cost-accounting system and that it is a highly technical operation has saved the BEP from political appointees and the politics associated with such an appointment.
I became Assistant Director for finance and administration in 1979, during the Carter administration. That did cause some political anxiety when the Director's position became vacant in December 1982. On January 1, 1983, I was appointed Acting Director and confirmed in that position on February 22, 1993, by Secretary Donald Regan, when the White House failed to act.
Of course, you are aware of the Plum book, denoted by the color of its cover. The Plum book is published by the Government Printing Office every four years, and includes all the positions in the Federal government subject to a political appointment. I shuddered when I noted that the Plum book edition published at the end of President Reagan's first term listed my own job, the Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
MORE ON THE TENURE OF U.S. MINT DIRECTORS
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