Email List Sign Up

Obama picks ex-deputy Labor secretary to be auto industry point man

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Obama picks ex-deputy Labor secretary to be auto industry point man

Former MSU professor will monitor GM and Chrysler restructuring

Gordon Trowbridge / Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — The Obama administration’s point man for bringing aid to battered auto industry communities is a wide-ranging academic with a sensitivity to the industry’s struggles, a colleague said Monday.

Edward Montgomery will leave his post as dean of the University of Maryland’s College of Social and Behavioral Sciences to head White House efforts to soften what is likely to be even more job loss and other disruption as General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC restructure.

"I think he’s just an absolutely perfect choice for the position," Robert Schwab, the college’s associate dean, said Monday. "He is incredibly smart, he’s a pleasure to work with and work for … He knows quite a bit about the auto industry and about regional economics."

Announcing the appointment on Monday, President Barack Obama said Montgomery will "cut through red tape and ensure that the full resources of our federal government are leveraged to assist the workers, communities and regions that rely on our auto industry."

The effort "could be the difference between life and death for us," said Scott Klein, mayor pro tem of Hamtramck. Klein said the impact of more plant closings on cities like his could be catastrophic: GM’s $4.3 million in annual payments in lieu of taxes to the city make up about a quarter of its general-fund budget.

Montgomery spent four years in the economics department at Michigan State University, from 1986 to 1990. He served in the Labor Department during the Clinton administration, first as the department’s chief economist before rising to deputy secretary, the department’s No. 2 position, for the last 18 months of the administration.

"The problems of Michigan and Indiana and Ohio are much deeper than the problems of the University of Maryland," Schwab said.

"But he has brought disparate groups together that wanted to go in very different ways and forged consensus.

"He’s incredibly creative. When a problem comes up, he’s the one who says, ‘Hey, I don’t think we’re thinking of this in the right way.’ "

Seniority Lists
Recent Posts!
Bargaining Committee

Mike Herron
Tim Stannard
Zone at Large – 1st
Danny Taylor
Zone at Large – 2nd
Mark Wilkerson
Joe McClure
Chad Poynor
Steve Roberts
Derek Lewis
Bill Cundiff
Kirk Zebbs
Don Numinen
Jay Minella
Danny Bragg
Chris Hill
Rashad Thomas
Keith Oswald
Chris Brown

1853 Officers

Tim Stannard
Mike Herron
Vice President
Darrell DeJean
Financial Secretary
Mark Wunderlin
Recording Secretary
Peggy Mullins
Trustee (3)
Jay Lowe
Dave Clements
Dave Spare
Sgt. at Arms
David C Spare
Ashley Holloway
E-Board at Large (2)
David Ryder
Steve Roberts
GM Unit Chair
Mike Herron
Leadec Unit Chair
Larry Poole
Ryder Unit Chair
Patrick Linck
AFV Unit Chair
Neil Osborne
Retiree Chair
Mike Martinez

Get Text Alerts


*Standard text messaging rates may apply from your carrier