I realize that in the age of the Internet, many people are fortunate (or unfortunate depending upon your point of view) to be able to work from home. However, a lot of the people who work from home are required to show up at an office periodically just to show that they are still alive and breathing. I guess that rule does not apply to some federal employees or department heads.
Yesterday Hot Air posted an article with the following headline, “Why is Pete Buttigieg still the Secretary of Transportation?” I think that is a very good question.
The article reports:
Pete Buttigieg has been away from his desk at the Department of Transportation for two months and no one noticed until this week. He’s been home on paternity leave since the birth of his twins. Normally, we might just shrug our shoulders and say who cares? These are not normal times, though, and there is a transportation crisis going on that has to be handled. The supply chain is facing severe disruption and cargo ships are backed up trying to get their goods unloaded in American ports, especially in California. Where’s Pete?
Politico had a piece about Pete going missing, having only now realized it, too, apparently. The liberal site dragged conservatives for noticing Pete’s absence and questioning where the Secretary of Transportation is these days. The chaos in the supply chain and the difficulties facing shipping companies and trucking companies all fall under his department’s supervision. Perhaps conservative outlets and social media were asking questions on Pete’s whereabouts because, though he recently began turning up in liberal outlets for interviews, he was absent from conservative networks. In his political career pre-birth of the twins, Mayor Pete was a frequent guest on both liberal networks and on Fox News. He is or was a go-to person to speak for the Biden administration. Just as the pain from the supply chain disruptions was being noticed and felt by most Americans, suddenly Pete went missing.
The Politico piece went on to explain family leave policy in government jobs and compared Pete’s leave to others like a U.S. senator and the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Ok, but that’s an apples and oranges comparison. A cabinet secretary is in a different position. The country can function smoothly during the absence of a senator during maternity leave, the same with an acting OMB director. However, cabinet secretaries have certain responsibilities unique to being a member of a presidential cabinet. If he planned to go on a two-month paternity leave, why didn’t he make that announcement public and formally declare his deputy secretary of transportation in charge? He has one. Her name is Polly Trottenberg and she was sworn in back in April. She’s actually an experienced public servant in transportation who, at least on paper, looks like she could do the job.
The article concludes:
Here’s the thing – Pete Buttigieg is a member of the president’s cabinet. He is not an ordinary elected official and his presence on the job is required, especially during a national crisis. He’s inept but he has people around him, we hope, that know what to do to ease the situation. I don’t begrudge him the opportunity to spend some time with newborn babies. His lengthy paternity leave right now, and as the shipping crisis grew along with supply chain problems, shows a true lack of judgment. The economy is at risk while he stays home. He has to handle both roles as other parents do. A week home with the babies when he first got them? Ok. Put the deputy secretary in charge and go home for a week. Then come back and get back to work. That’s how this works. Pete is showing his inability to perform his role in the president’s cabinet and he needs to be held accountable, new parent or not. Fire him.
I would like to add one bit of information about the problems with the supply chain backup in California. Someone who knows more than I do mentioned that owner-operator truckers are not allowed to take cargo from the ports in California. One whole sector of the trucking industry is banned from helping ease the crisis. It was noted that the reason for this is that unionized truckers can be easily controlled through their unions. Non-union truckers cannot be controlled as a group–only individually. There are a number of layers to the supply chain problem, and it would be nice if someone supposedly in charge was addressing those problems.