An action-packed eight months as acting comptroller of the currency came to an end for Julie L. Williams last week when former Treasury Under Secretary John D. Hawke Jr. got a recess appointment to the job.
Ms. Williams, the agency's chief counsel, spent the weekend packing her things and moving back into her old office. Mr. Hawke is to move into the top-floor comptroller's office today.
At a holiday party Wednesday, Mr. Hawke and Ms. Williams are slated to address the agency's staff. Expect many rounds of toasts to Ms. Williams for the job she did.
Lost in the hubbub over Mr. Hawke's recess appointment last week were other managerial moves at the Treasury Department. Gary Gensler is expected to assume Mr. Hawke's former duties. President Clinton nominated Mr. Gensler-who has been assistant secretary for financial markets since mid- 1997-as under secretary in October. But his appointment was delayed by the controversy surrounding Mr. Hawke's nomination.
Mr. Gensler, 41, came to the government last year after a career at Goldman Sachs Group LP, where he had risen to partner less than a decade after joining the Wall Street firm's merger and acquisitions department in 1979. He was co-head of finance for Goldman Sachs worldwide during his last two years there.
The President also used recess appointments to promote Timothy F. Geithner to under secretary for international affairs and move Edwin M. Truman into the former's old job as assistant secretary for international affairs. Mr. Truman directed the Federal Reserve Board's international finance division for more than 20 years.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is brimming with innovation.
Its new $20 bill employs a number of high-tech tricks to thwart counterfeiters, many of whom use run-of-the-mill, yet increasingly sophisticated, home office technology to create fake cash.
As recently as fiscal year 1995, the agency reports, only 0.5% of counterfeit notes were generated on inkjet printers. By fiscal year 1998, this share had grown to 43%.
To promote itself and its new "smart" currency, the bureau has chosen a hip Web site address: www.moneyfactory.com. Much cooler than www.bep.treas.gov, which brings you to the same Web page.
Move over Webster's, brainy House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach has started inventing words. The Iowa Republican titled his speech last week to the Professional Bankers' Association "The Dilemma of Public Policy in an Era of Kleptocratic Greed."
Rep. Leach coined the term to underscore his argument against wasting International Monetary Fund and other international agency aid packages on corrupt foreign bureaucracies.
His solution: to divert the money to local governments or private-sector projects so that dirty politicians and organized criminals cannot get their hands on it. Rep. Leach said he would especially like aid to be used for developing strong financial systems in recipient countries.
In the same speech, Rep. Leach described the Federal Reserve Board as "the greatest instrument of stability in the history of the world." But he brought the discussion back to Earth when he blasted the Fed for orchestrating the rescue of Long-Term Capital Management. The central bank "is not immune from error," he said.
Banking lawyer Peter J. Wallison is to become a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute on Jan. 1.
The 57-year-old Mr. Wallison-a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and Treasury Department general counsel in the Reagan administration-is slated to be co-director of the think tank's financial market deregulation project.
Mr. Wallison is also considering a book on the future of financial services that, among other things, would recommend that regulatory agencies be merged as the boundaries among banking, insurance, and securities blur.
"This is something I have wanted to do for a long time," said Mr. Wallison, who will remain with Gibson, Dunn but move to counsel status. "It's kind of like being a professor without having to teach classes."
Fannie Mae continues to soak up ex-government officials.
Arne L. Christenson, chief of staff to lame duck House Speaker Newt Gingrich, was hired last week by the giant buyer of mortgage loans.
As senior vice president for regulatory policy, Mr. Christenson is to help Fannie Mae devise legislative strategy, and he is to be responsible for the government-sponsored enterprise's relationship with its regulators, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight.