The Daily Caller's Matthew Boyle is claiming that the Department of Homeland Security has hired “at least four senior staffers and advisers” with “no law enforcement experience into senior law enforcement positions.” Boyle went so far as to call them “mini-czars” in a tweet. But the individuals Boyle targeted either do not hold senior positions at DHS or are not involved in law enforcement. By contrast, former President George W. Bush appointed people who lacked relevant experience to head agencies that are currently within DHS.
Boyle attacked the experience of four current or former DHS staffers: Jordan Grossman, Vladimir Skoric, Chris Stelmarski, and Nate Snyder.
Skoric, who began his civil service career in 2008 during the Bush administration, is a special assistant to the deputy under secretary for cybersecurity. In 2011, Skoric was listed as being compensated at a “GS-11” rate, which translates to a mid-level civil service position.
Snyder, who started at DHS in 2009 as a deputy White House liaison, is a special advisor for community partnership and strategic engagement. In 2011, Snyder was compensated at a GS-14 level, higher than Skoric or Stelmaski, but not at the level of the Senior Executive Service, which constitutes the top-level federal civil servants.
And Grossman, who has since left DHS to attend Harvard Law School, was a special advisor and deputy to the deputy chief of staff.
In contrast to the individuals that Boyle identified, Bush really did appoint people without relevant experience to top positions at DHS.
For instance, in 2006, Bush recess appointed Julie Myers to head the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau at the DHS, despite the fact that, as The Washington Post reported, she had “little immigration or customs experience.”
And in 2003, Bush appointed Michael Brown as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which merged with DHS that year.
Brown's official biography stated:
Prior to joining FEMA he practiced law in Colorado and Oklahoma, where he served as a bar examiner on ethics and professional responsibility for the Oklahoma Supreme Court and as a hearing examiner for the Colorado Supreme Court. He had been appointed as a special prosecutor in police disciplinary matters. While attending law school he was appointed by the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee of the Oklahoma Legislature as the Finance Committee Staff Director, where he oversaw state fiscal issues. His background in state and local government also includes serving as an assistant city manager with emergency services oversight and as a city councilman.
But Time magazine reported that Brown's supposed “emergency services oversight” experience occurred in Edmond, OK, and Brown was not an “assistant city manager,” but rather “an 'assistant to the city manager,' ” which was “more like an intern.”
Indeed, according to The Boston Herald (via Nexis), “before joining the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a deputy director in 2001,” Brown “had no significant experience that would have qualified him for the position.” The Herald further reported that “before joining the Bush administration in 2001, Brown spent 11 years as the commissioner of judges and stewards for the International Arabian Horse Association, a breeders' and horse-show organization based in Colorado.”