Official in charge of State Department
reorganization steps down
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[November 28, 2017]
By Arshad Mohammed
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A senior U.S.
official overseeing a reorganization of the State Department that has
been criticized by current and former U.S. diplomats has stepped down
after less than four months on the job, U.S. officials said on Monday.
Maliz Beams, a former financial industry executive who was named State
Department counselor on Aug. 17, is "stepping away" to return to Boston,
said a department spokesman on condition of anonymity. Christine
Ciccone, the department's deputy chief of staff, will take over the
agency's "redesign," he added.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been criticized by current and
former U.S. diplomats as well as by some members of Congress for his
management of the agency, where may top posts have not been filled
nearly 10 months into Tillerson's tenure.
The department has also seen an exodus of senior diplomats.
Tillerson defended the department when he was recently asked about
morale problems and concerns that the agency was being weakened.
"The redesign is going to address all of that. And this department is
performing extraordinarily well, and I take exception to anyone who
characterizes otherwise. Itís just not true," he said on Nov. 20.
State Department officials observing the reorganization say it has been
plagued with uncertainty both about what Tillerson wants to achieve and
how to go about it.
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"If the one thing she (Beams) was asked to do was the redesign and
she is quitting ... how does this not reflect poorly on the overall
management of this enterprise, that is the redesign?" said one
official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Another State Department official said Beams had left of her own
volition and was not fired. Beams did not immediately respond to
voicemails left at her office and Massachusetts phone numbers or to
an email sent to her State Department address.
The State Department spokesman declined comment on criticism of the
A congressional aide said the effort is so amorphous that Congress
is unable to pass legislation to give the agency the legal authority
to make changes.
"To do that we would need to have some road map - something - and
none of that has been provided," said the aide, who spoke on
condition of anonymity.
(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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