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<p>ALEXANDRIA Va, – Neither NCUA nor former Board member Yolanda Wheat have chosen to speak for the record over allegations that Mrs. Wheat was never formally named to be chair of the NCUA Board. During the waning days of the Clinton Administration the White House asked then Chairman Norman D’Amours to resign his seat and the agency, on January 9, recognized Wheat as chairman. Allegations have since arisen that Wheat was never formally appointed to that position, even though the agency recognized her as chairman and she assumed that position. According to sources at the agency, the NCUA received paperwork from the White House confirming D’Amours’ resignation, as well as the recess appointment of Geoff Bacino to D’Amour’s seat on the board. No paperwork, sources say, was ever received regarding Wheat’s appointment to chair, although one source reported there had been oral communication confirming her appointment but could not remember from whom in the Clinton White House the communication had come. NCUA refused to state for the record as to whether or not it had ever received paperwork confirming Wheat’s appointment and Wheat refused to take questions when contacted by Credit Union Times. Wheat presided over the January 18 NCUA Board meeting as chairman at which the board revised Part 748 of its regulations governing protection of credit union members’ information. The board also approved an exemption for Washington State’s Member Business Lending rule, allowed SunCorp Credit Union to purchase participations of loans from natural person credit unions and permitted the $557 million Nevada Federal Credit Union to convert from a multiple group to a community charter at the meeting. Speaking off the record, sources at the agency said they doubted whether it mattered if Wheat was formally chairman, since the board had its full three members for the meeting, although other sources questioned whether the board could legitimately have a meeting that a chairman did not call. During her brief tenure as chair Wheat also made four controversial hires “to assist with the communications and congressional affairs operations” at the agency: Rondalyn Kane, Executive Assistant for Governmental Relations; Thomas S. Keefe, Executive Assistant and Director of Communications; Nadia Garnett, Special Assistant for Governmental Relations; Pearson Cummings, Special Assistant for Governmental Relations. At the time some credit unions questioned the impact of these hires on NCUA’s budget, but Cliff Northup, Director of NCUA’s office of Congressional and Public Affairs reported the four hires had since “cycled through” the agency and were now working elsewhere. One NCUA source defended the agency’s decision to recognize Wheat as chair based on what the agency understood as an oral communication from the White House. “Paperwork can take weeks or months to follow an appointment,” the source noted. “If the agency has verbal confirmation of an appointment we have to move on that in order to keep from getting bogged down.” Wheat served as chairman of the NCUA Board for less than a month. On February 8, the Bush Administration named Dennis Dollar Acting Chairman of the NCUA Board.</p>

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