ALEXANDRIA, Va.-What do you get when you combine a federal agency chairman, a lame duck board member, and a recess appointee at the end of his term? A potential NCUA Board of one. However, NCUA Board Member Yolanda Wheat, whose term expired in August, said that she is willing to serve on the NCUA Board until the Senate confirms her replacement, even though that means commuting half way across the country. Nomination confirmations have been held up since the September 11 terrorist attacks while Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents tackle national security issues. The FBI conducts the background checks for presidential nominations. Wheat attended the NCUA Board meeting in person this month. Last month she was stranded at her home in Kansas City, Missouri following the September 11 attacks and joined the meeting via teleconference. Rather than her assistant Margaret Broadaway sitting behind her, intently observing the meeting, there was another somewhat familiar face. Tom Keefe, who served briefly in Wheat’s office during her short-lived tenure as chair, will be rejoining her staff until her replacement is named. Broadaway retired Friday, October 12. “I am perfectly happy to continue to serve until replaced, particularly with the potential of having only one board member,” Wheat said. She confessed that she does not have any pressing work that she is especially looking forward to. Wheat admits to a bit of embarrassment at the idea that she has no idea what she will do after departing from NCUA. “I don’t feel compelled to have to have plans.she said. “When people have approached me, I’ve asked them please don’t. I want to be focused on what I’m doing at the time, as I have with every job.” Wheat’s expected replacement, Iowa State Senator JoAnn Johnson, may be delayed from joining the board as her background paperwork has been held up since the terrorist attacks because FBI agents are not available to perform non-defense or intelligence nomination background checks. So, while it is more likely there will be at least two NCUA Board members for the time being, recess appointee Geoff Bacino still has a chance to be appointed to a permanent position on the board. However, Bacino must undergo the same background checks as Johnson. “We’re functioning.” NCUA Director of Public and Congressional Affairs Cliff Northup remarked. “We’re not in a position where we can’t make any decisions at all.” He pointed out that NCUA is ahead of the game in some ways because Republican Dennis Dollar has already been appointed chairman. In some cases, like Shirley Bown’s nomination to the chair of the Federal Housing Finance Board and Jim Gilleran’s nomination to the chairman of the Office of Thrift Supervision, these agencies still need confirmations in the chair slot. If Bacino or another Democrat is not nominated and confirmed to a permanent position, the seat will be vacant. As a recess appointment, Bacino’s term must end at the end of the congressional session. Northup held out a ray of hope for Bacino, who has spent much of his career trying to get a seat on the NCUA Board. With the national security issues currently before Congress, it is Northup’s understanding from discussions on the Hill that Congress will not technically adjourn from this session. Bacino would then have until January 3, the date for the new Congress to begin, to have his term extended over the next four years. NCUA Board members typically serve six-year terms, but former NCUA Chairman Norm D’Amours served an additional year after his term officially expired and Bacino has already served a year. Following the FBI background check Johnson and Bacino would also have to submit to a more informal questionnaire by the Senate Banking Committee and possibly a hearing, Northup said. “We would certainly like to get this resolved.” he said, but said the agency realized “There are other things of higher priority for the country right now.” Northup said a recess appointment for Johnson is a possibility, but he is not sure whether that option is being explored at this point. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Paul Sarbanes’ (D-Md.) Press Secretary Jesse Jacobs was unavailable for comment on the nominations because Sarbane’s office, located in Hart Senate Office Building where anthrax was detected in field tests in Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle’s (D-S.D.) office, was closed. [email protected]

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