Appointee names leak out as agencies gear up for reviews

But those selections, and two other rumored picks, that of Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano to head the Homeland Security Department and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., to be secretary of State, spread via leaks rather than formal announcements. The flow of information is a departure from the Obama team's characteristically tight messaging and strong warnings by transition team chief John Podesta to avoid leaks.

Outside groups also raised questions about whether the Obama team already is disregarding the ethics provisions it outlined for the transition and the administration.

Obama pledged that members of his transition team would not be allowed to work on issues they had lobbied on in the past 12 months. But James Halpert, who was tapped to advise Obama on intellectual property, focused on IP as a registered lobbyist with the Washington firm DLA Piper.
Obama appointees also are supposed to be excluded from fields related to their jobs in the last two years. But Daschle has worked on a range of health care issues in his role as special policy adviser at the law firm Alston & Bird LLP.

As the highest level of the new administration began to come together, the agency review teams that Obama rolled out last week turned their attention to the task at hand, which in many cases will include interviewing front-line employees.

The reviewers likely will be met with a wealth of information. In response to a July 18 memo from the Obama transition team, agencies submitted "hot lists" of pressing issues in their jurisdictions. And the National Treasury Employees Union announced it would use its new reform agenda to prepare members for conversations with agency reviewers.

Even before beginning their work, a number of the teams have garnered positive reactions from employee groups and executives who say the reviewers are well-versed in key matters at stake.

"The [team leads] have a unique front-line perspective and will be able to provide a 360-degree view of everything," American Federation of Government Employees general counsel Mark Roth told Government Executive. "They know what to look for."

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