Hell no, don´t let Sheila go!
That´s the chant of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. employees hoping to keep Chairman Sheila Bair in place in a new administration.
A Web site, thepetitionsite.com, now boasts a notice from agency employees asking President-elect Barack Obama to keep Ms. Bair on in her current post. "Chairman Bair is promoting a workplace environment where we are treated with respect and empowered to be successful in our jobs," the petition reads. "Chairman Bair exhibits the FDIC's corporate values of fairness, teamwork, integrity, competence, effectiveness, financial responsibility, open and honest communication, empowerment, and effective leadership. For all the above reasons, we support Chairman Bair and ask that you please retain her as our leader."
Ms. Bair´s official response, via spokesman Andrew Gray: "Chairman Bair believes that the President-elect should have the ability to choose his own economic team. Until any decision is made, she will remain focused on the important work of the FDIC."
The Obama transition team said it does not comment on appointments before they are officially announced.
Ms. Bair´s popularity at the FDIC is rarely matched. Morale at the agency has been low for years-ever since L. William Seidman, a former chairman, left in 1991. Ms. Bair´s graceful dominance of the regulatory response to the credit crisis gave the institution a much-needed lift.
She may be shut out of the Treasury Department´s Tarp program for now, but Ms. Bair can hope for lots more attention from the new administration. President-elect Obama has already praised loan modifications-Ms. Bair´s cause celebre-as an economic fix.
But will she remain at the FDIC? There could be other opportunities for the moderate Republican, like the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD´s responses to the economic crisis have been less helpful. Perhaps the department´s employees need a bit of cheering up. Hey FDIC, it´s time to share the love.