President Barack Obama is building a White House staff so loaded with big names and overlapping duties that it could collapse into chaos unless managed with a juggler’s skill.
It’s an administration that seems “addicted to czars,” says one longtime observer of government organization.
By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writer
Obama has installed a White House health czar who doubles as secretary of Health and Human Services. The State Department now has “special envoys” for the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and for climate change — areas already overseen by other officials.
Just for the environment, along with the new climate envoy Obama has an energy secretary, an Environmental Protection Agency director and a chief of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Hovering over them all is Carol Browner, a high-profile former EPA administrator in a newly created role some call “climate czarina.”
The economic team is perhaps the most multilayered and ego-driven of all. Former college professor Christina Romer heads Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. Timothy Geithner, a former top Federal Reserve official, is treasury secretary. Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker is heading the newly formed Economic Recovery Advisory Board. And Peter Orszag, former head of the Congressional Budget Office, is the budget director.
Coordinating and perhaps overshadowing all of them is Lawrence Summers, the brainy and sometimes….