by Bruce Webb
President Barack Obama has chosen Carolyn W. Colvin of Maryland to be deputy commissioner of Social Security, the White House announced Thursday. Currently special assistant to Maryland’s transportation secretary, Colvin was Montgomery County Health and Human Services director until her dismissal by newly elected county executive Ike Leggett in November 2006. She previously served as a deputy commissioner at the Social Security Administration and is a member of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.
I don’t know anything about Colvin except that she perviously served as Deputy Commissioner for Programs and Policy in at least 1997, i.e. under Clinton. Here is a policy statement from her then: http://www.nls.org/passssa.htm.
Here is the SSA Org Chart: http://www.ssa.gov/org/ssachart.pdf In it you can see there is a Deputy Commissioner in the Office of the Commissioner which you could call “The” Deputy Commissioner and then 13 Divisions for various operational and policy areas, nine of them headed by a Deputy Commissioner for ‘X’. Colvin is being slotted into the actual number two slot which naturally on this org chart is listed as “Vacant”.
I don’t know the implications. That she served in the Clinton era SSA is a mixed bag, that she is currently a member of NCPSSM is a good sign for supporters of traditional Social Security. And it is also good that she has a background as a line administrator as opposed to an academic background. Less likely to let policy get blinded by pretty theories.