Since Aaron Williams (Dominican Republic 1967-70) took over the Peace Corps on August 24, 2009–over a year ago–the agency has had no Communications Director or Congressional Liaison Director. (And the names, I’m told, now being considered for the congressional position aren’t worth while writing home about.)
These positions are, after the director and deputy, the two most important ones at the agency.
Suzie Carroll, the present Acting Congressional Liason, is a Republican hanger-on. A nice woman (not an RPCV, of course), who is considered weak and ineffective by congressional aides on the Hill.
Allison Price, another non-PCV, another political appointment, is a nice young woman who is sadly not up to the job in the press office. She is unable to market the agency. She is unable to get the director on radio or television on in the press. You want to know why people say: is there still a Peace Corps? You tell them, “Allison Price is working on it!”
The former Peace Corps Deputy, the infamous Republican, Barbara Zartman, use to walk the hall of the agency mumbling: “There are too many RPCVs working here!”
Well, we might say, and honestly, “there are too many NON Peace Corps Volunteers working at the agency. These NPCVs don’t get what it means to be a PCV. It is not their fault. They lack the experience, the knowledge, the connection to the life of a PCV. Why don’t they go work for Homeland Security or the Social Security Administration? Those two agencies need people who are good with detail and lack imagination.
Send me your ideas about who should have these jobs. Who would you put in these two positions to raise the visiblity of the agency, on the Hill, and in the Media?