Janet Napolitano resigned from Homeland Security to Head the University of California School System. Napolitano, appointed by President Obama, headed Homeland Security for four years before resigning on Friday to officially announce she was taking the post at UC.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that no replacement was named to replace the departing Napolitano. Schumer is said to have endorsed long-time New York Commissioner Raymond Kelley for the position. Kelley previously served as under-secretary of Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence as well as Customs Commissioner during Bill Clinton’s second term.
Kelley, a former Marine colonel in Vietnam, received his law degree from Kennedy School study. He began his career in law enforcement after his military service and has worked with Interpol in criminal justice matters. It is believed that he brings immediate credibility in excelling at the post with his professional background.
“The Department of Homeland Security is one of the most important agencies in the federal government,” Schumer said. “Its leader needs to be someone who knows law enforcement, understands anti-terrorism efforts, and is a top-notch administrator, and at the NYPD, Ray Kelley has proven that he excels in all three.”
Napolitano, 55, was governor of Arizona before President Obama nominated her to head Homeland Security. Janet Napolitano, a New York native, will head the University of California School System. Sherry Lansing, the UC regent who chaired the search committee, issued a statement that said Napolitano, as Arizona governor, “was an effective advocate for public education and a champion for life-changing opportunities that that education provides…Those who know her best say that a passion for education is in her DNA.”
Napolitano earned her bachelors at Santa Clara University in Northern California. She was the university’s first female valedictorian before studying law at the University of Virginia. She won the position of U.S. Attorney in Arizona and then went on to win the post as governor.
Upon Napolitano’s accepting the head post at Homeland Security, she was thrust into the middle of the national debate about immigration and information sharing among national security and domestic police agencies.
The issue of failed information sharing by law enforcement agencies in the aftermath of the failed Christmas underwear bombing, had cast an unfavorable light upon Napolitano’s watch. The instituting of controversial full body scanners soon followed on a nationwide level. The media soon labeled Napolitano, “Big Sis” in response for the agenda which she jokingly said she liked.
“I thank President Obama for the chance to serve our nation during this important chapter in our history, and I know the Department of Homeland Security will continue to perform its important duties with the honor and focus that the American public expects,” said Napolitano.
Departing Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano will be the first woman to head the University of California in its 145 year history. Napolitano’s salary will fall in line with departing UC President Mark G. Yudof in the amount of $591,000.00 annually.
In a prepared statement, Napolitano said, “If appointed, I intend to reach out and listen to chancellors, to faculty, to students, to the state’s political leaders, to regents, to the heads of the other public higher education systems and, of course, to President Yudof and his team, who have done so much to steer the University of California through some extremely rough waters.”
By Thomas Barr