Ex-Sebelius aide purges FDA officeFDA associate commissioner for external affairs Beth Martino, a former Kansas aide to HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius, has conducted an unprecedented purge of senior specialists, all aged over 50, in her office and in the Press Office which she controls.
Sources confidential to me said the abrupt removals were made to make room for younger people closer to Martino's own age. “She's uncomfortable with people who know more than she does,” some of them said. Others alleged that the moves represent deeper politicization of the agency.
Three of the displaced staffers, Elaine Gansz Bobo, Dick Thompson, and Ira Allen were offered the choice of being terminated as probationary hires for fabricated “incompetence” or resigning. Each had been told on their recruitment that, short of criminal behavior, “everybody survives the probationary period.”
As youth seems to trump experience in the Obama administration, similar purges are reportedly occurring at other HHS agencies, including CDC.
Martino told Bobo and Allen to immediately clean out their desks and they were then escorted off the premises. Thompson, a former TIME magazine Washington bureau science editor and high-level W.H.O. communications advisor, was told to find other work outside of FDA, but was allowed to stay until his 12-month probation expired on December 2.