Shirley Franklin in running for EPA region chief?
Mayor Shirley Franklin may be in the running for a new job: Region IV administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Neither EPA spokespersons nor the mayor’s office would confirm that she’s up for the post. “Sorry, I haven’t heard that,” said Franklin spokeswoman Catherine Wooding.
Then again, they might not be in a position to know.
According to sources familiar with the vetting process for the regional administrator’s post, the mayor recently met with national EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to discuss the position. It’s not clear whether the supposed meeting about the Region IV job was during Jackson’s June 2 visit to Atlanta or more recently.
If she did get the $177,000-a-year position, it would be a plum landing spot for Franklin, who’ll be leaving the mayor’s office at the end of this year anyway.
An appointment also could affect the Atlanta mayor’s race. I didn’t have time this morning to figure out whether City Council President and mayoral candidate Lisa Borders would be elevated to mayor. (Hey readers: You’re welcome to find out and let us know with a comment!)
Region IV covers six southeastern states, including Georgia. According to sources who asked not to be identified, another candidate for the position is Acting Region IV Administrator Stanley Meiberg, a career civil servant who’s highly regarded by agency employees.
While the city’s recent financial problems have taken a bit of a shine off Franklin’s reputation as a hands-on manager, she would bring her own environmental credentials to the office. In the private sector, she founded one consulting firm and was employed by another that dealt with environmental infrastructure issues.
The biggest achievement of Franklin’s first term was gaining support from both voters and the EPA for a massive Atlanta sewer cleanup that still is under construction. And she’s gained some environmental cred for the ambitious (if as yet unrealized) Beltline project and with various green initiatives.
Franklin also would be the first woman, as well as the first African-American, to serve as Region IV administrator. Jackson, President Obama’s selection, is the first African-American woman in that position.
New administrations typically get around to picking new regional administrators in the summer of the president’s first year in office. The nominee must then be approved by a Senate committee.
One thing that could be unusual if Franklin gained the appointment would be the role that members of Congress played, or didn’t play. U.S. senators from the region who are in the president’s own party often have a big say in the nomination process. But Georgia has no Democratic senator, and the region has only two of them.
U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, seems a likely advocate for Franklin because of his seniority and the fact that he’s Franklin’s congressman. But a spokeswoman for Lewis in Washington said she hasn’t heard anything about Franklin being a candidate for the job.
Please let us know if you’ve heard anything else about this. We’ll be following it.
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