Magazine article Information Management

Weinstein Becomes Ninth U.S. Archivist

Magazine article Information Management

Weinstein Becomes Ninth U.S. Archivist

Article excerpt

On February 16, Dr. Allen Weinstein, a scholar, professor of history, and record leader in global democracy issues, was sworn in as the ninth archivist of the United States by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) at the U.S. Capitol. As archivist of the United States, Weinstein will oversee the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and it 13 facilities.

At the swearing-in ceremony, Weinstein said, "In April, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of National Archives independence. Under National Archivists during both Republican and Democratic presidencies, the tradition of nonpolitical and highest professional attention to the work involved has been the norm. It will continue to be so on my watch, as will an effort to deepen the interaction with Congress and with other government agencies ..."

In a move that garnered much controversy, Weinstein was nominated by President Bush on April 8, 2004. The nomination caught the archivist community off-guard--then-current NARA head John W. Carlin had indicated his intention to serve until July 2005. According to the The Washington Post, the Bush administration approached Weinstein about the job in September 2003 and a few months later pushed Carlin to resign without providing any reason either to Congress or Odin, a former Kansas governor nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1995. To date, no explanation has been given as to why the administration wanted to replace Carlin. The U.S. archivist's term in office is unlimited.

Archival groups said they were not consulted about the nomination, as has been the custom. Several, including the Society of American Archivists, relayed concerns about Weinstein's qualifications to be the U.S. archivist and questioned whether his nomination was politically motivated.

Most recently, Weinstein served as a senior advisor at IFES (International Foundation for Election Systems). …

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