With a shove from the White House, the National Credit Union Administration board finally chose a permanent executive director last week. But the decision opened new wounds at the troubled agency.
Carolyn D. Jordan, a former Senate Banking Committee aide and investment banking consultant, was approved by a 2-to-1 vote last week.
Her selection capped a rancorous, nine-month battle that began when former executive director Karl Hoyle was suspended last September.
If approved by the Office of Personnel Management, on July 31 she will succeed acting executive director J. Leonard Skiles, the candidate preferred by Republican board member Dennis Dollar.
Both NCUA Chairman Norman E. D'Amours and board member Yolanda Townsend Wheat praised Ms. Jordan, whom Mr. D'Amours said he chose from a list of candidates handpicked by the White House.
Mr. D'Amours, a Democrat, cited Ms. Jordan's commitment to bringing low- income rural and urban residents "into the financial mainstream." The two worked together when Mr. D'Amours was a financial services industry lobbyist and Ms. Jordan a Senate Banking lawyer.
Fellow Democrat Ms. Wheat was "favorably impressed" and called Ms. Jordan "a professional who has the necessary skill and desire to serve credit unions and the NCUA."
But rather than putting an end to the agency's problems, Ms. Jordan's selection has created new rifts.
The most prominent dispute involves Ms. Wheat and Mr. Dollar, who until now had voted together on most issues, including the executive director slot.
In prior weeks, for example, Ms. Wheat and Mr. Dollar together rejected three candidates proposed by Mr. D'Amours.
Ms. Wheat also not only nominated Mr. Skiles to fill the slot temporarily, but instructed the agency's human relations office to rewrite the job description so that a career employee like Mr. Skiles-rather than only political appointees-could fill it.
But ultimately, two well-placed sources at the NCUA said Ms. Wheat reneged on a pledge to make Mr. Skiles permanent and instead supported Ms. Jordan.
Lisa Gruenloh, Ms. Wheat's spokeswoman, would not confirm whether Ms. Wheat had promised to endorse Mr. Skiles.
"She has said all along that she would prefer to support a political appointee in the position," Ms. Gruenloh said. "However, absent a Schedule C (political appointee) nomination that was satisfactory to the board, she was willing to consider the option of filling the position with a career person."
It remains to be seen whether the rift between Mr. Dollar and Ms. Wheat- or the rapport between Ms. Wheat and Mr. D'Amours-is a one-time event or the beginning of a trend.