Originally published December 13 2014
Bureaucratic Ebola czar steps down from position, returns to private sector
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) President Obama's "Ebola czar" is stepping down from his position after a few short months on the job, a financial magazine reported recently.
Fortune magazine said the 53-year-old Ron Klain, former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, will return to the private sector by March 1, following a short tenure that was nonetheless widely panned.
Klain, the magazine, said, will return to his former job as president of Case Holdings and general counsel for former AOL CEO Steve Case's venture firm, Revolution LLC.
"He has no intention of staying on in any other capacity here at the White House," an administration official told Fortune. "Ron will do the job for which he was appointed and return to Revolution."
The financial news site went on to note that Klain's "Ebola czar" role was always meant to be temporary and that he simply took a leave of absence from Revolution in late October to join the Obama Administration as a special government employee -- a technical description for short-term officials who stipulate that they won't be on the job any longer than 130 days.
Klain worked behind the scenes during clumsy administration response
However, a report in Politico speculated that Klain would remain in the administration to take John Podesta's position as counselor to the president if Podesta left to run an anticipated Democratic presidential campaign for Hillary Clinton.
Klain's tenure was marred with controversy from the outset, which was only exacerbated by the administration's clumsy response to the Ebola outbreak in Texas and, later, in New York City. First, there was criticism about his lack of medical credentials. Later came criticism that he was little more than a functionary, a bureaucrat figurehead being paid a political favor by a friendly White House.
As noted by Bloomberg News:
From the beginning, Obama was pressured to hire a czar by politicians who wanted to assure their constituents that there was firm leadership in place. The implication was that the administration lacked a decent manager to oversee the response.
"From spending time in Arizona, my constituents are not comforted," said Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, during an interview on CNN shortly after news of the first outbreaks hit. "There has to be more reassurance given to them. I would say that we don't know exactly who's in charge. There has to be some kind of czar."
But there was never the feeling among most Americans that Klain was the right person for the job. He felt the same thing, though for different reasons.
"I never feel as un-czar-y as when I'm trying to deal with this complicated patchwork of federal, state and local systems," Klain said once, according to Bloomberg News.
Klain was more of a behind-the-scenes operator; those who clamored for an Ebola czar, though, hoped for someone who would be much more open and obvious about their work.
Sickness and death tolls continue to rise
Rather, the country got someone who "has been shuttling between different agencies and the White House to make sure everyone's on the same page, working to speed up bureaucratic processes, and making sure the individual pieces fit into the administration's broader Ebola strategy," as MSNBC reported, citing people familiar with his work.
Meanwhile, as Klain contemplates his exit from his U.S. post, the Ebola virus has all but vanished from the headlines -- even though the disease continues to ravage West Africa.
As of December 7, according to the World Health Organization, more than 17,900 people have become infected, and of those, over 6,300 have perished.
Russian consumer watchdog Rospotrebnadzor also reported that among the infected are 622 healthcare workers; 346 of those workers have died.
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