Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Ambassador: When Working for One is an Adventure

Ty Cobb and Joe Jackson in ClevelandImage via Wikipedia

“The Ambassador is a hands-on manager who has a highly personal, dominating management style. She has persuaded the mission to think outside of well-trodden bureaucratic strictures and engage in new initiatives. This makes working for her, at times, an adventure. The mission staff acknowledges the pluses of this arrangement (she has a good batting average) and of her energetic, effective pursuit of U.S. policy objectives. […] While the Ambassador has an impressive list of successes, her centralized management style has also created problems and has blurred lines of communication and coordination within the mission. Her multiple direct-tasking of individual officers has led to a pattern of stove-piping in which officers tend to report only to her, hindering adequate coordination.”

Extracted from Inspection of Embassy Riga, Latvia OIG Report No. ISP-I-06-39A | August 2006

1 comment:

Shoeone said...

I am continually amazed, but not surprised, at the agility with which the inspectors tiptoe around the depredations of political appointee Ambassadors. According to my sources, working at Embassy Riga was a nightmare during this period. The Ambassador in question, Catherine Todd Bailey, was a “Bush Ranger,” a Kentucky political activist and a bundler of contributions who had connections with Senator Mitch McConnell. She arrived in Riga expecting the small Embassy staff (fifteen or so) to do nothing but support her activities to the exclusion of all else. Her schedules read like Presidential trip scenarios, with every speaking engagement or event elaborately choreographed. This was, in one sense, a saving grace, since she had no actual expertise in foreign affairs or knowledge of Latvian history or politics. On the downside, however, her incessant demands on the staff were exhausting and drove everyone to distraction. Her departure in 2008 was reportedly met with a universal sigh of relief.