Menard steps down


  • Anonymous


When a new administration takes over in Washington, it is not unusual at all for top government officials to be replaced. The administration will be held responsible for the success or failure of the federal agencies, so it is logical for a new president, or his close advisors, to approve top-level staff. The level defined as ‘high’ has been extended, particularly since the days of the Nixon administration, to beyond cabinet and department secretary, reaching broadly to within the structure of federal agencies. The U.S. Geological Survey remained unscathed by political appointments until 1977, when the Carter administration abruptly removed Vincent McKelvey from his position as director. Now, the Reagan administration has followed suit by terminating the appointment of H. William Menard, U.S.G.S. director for the past 4 years under the Carter administration. In both instances, submittal of resignation letters was a courtesy—a formality, but acceptance of their resignations was not. Both McKelvey and his successor, Menard, are professionals, but both were treated politically. These are only the first and second cases of political interference at the U.S.G.S. in over a century. Until these instances, the position of director was held as a purely professional one.