From the March 15th Numismatic e-newsletter: Should the Mint director’s job become a civil service post rather than a political appointment? Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.
The Mint director position should be that of a qualified civil servant. The idea of having a political appointee to manage a large manufacturing operation is a really bad idea.
Lifelong politicians with no real world profit and customer satisfaction driven production or manufacturing background who are appointed by political favor instead of an individual with a qualified back ground do not serve the best interest of the American public.
But an excellent Mint director alone will not make the Mint better. Along with a top-notch director the Mint needs to be given the freedom to operate like a for-profit company, being released to make daily decisions without requiring an act of Congress. That arrangement is like having GM ask its board members what colors should this year’s autos be.
Being in the minting trade over 25 years, I stand in awe of the sheer quantity of material processed by the Mint. But I see so many restrictions that inhibit its agility and creativity. Couple this with some leadership and decision making that to me seems to be lacking, (which are probably due to their ingrown congressional restrictions), I feel the Mint could be so much greater.
Take for instance recent two-year study to determine what alloys to replace the nickel and cent with came back un-decisive after umpteen million dollars have been spent. Really!?! A director with a for-profit industrial background probably would have presented the options to Congress in less than a year and the new materials would be in production by now saving millions of dollars per year.
Our neighbors to the north have done this quite successfully, as have numerous other sovereign mints around the world. Why? These other entities are operated like a for-profit origination and can make decisions regarding coinage alloys and programs on their own. As long as they show a profit and their customers are satisfied (both commercial/circulating and collectors) with the quality and content of the coinage being produced they will continue to thrive, thus making their shareholders (typically the national government or central bank) very happy.
I am not advocating making the Mint a “private” organization as other nations have done, but give the Mint some freedom, under a highly qualified director and not a political appointee, and I believe the Mint could become much more profitable and efficient, and possibly leave some extra space in your letters to the editor section as the number of gripes about U.S. Mint service may be considerably less.
Director of Mint Operations
Great American Mint & Refinery.
It really is a political job and it’s more public relations than anything. I think it should remain in the political area, but they might consider “terms” such as they do for the chairman of the Federal Reserve.
No, I think the Job should stay a political appointment. For alls concern this position would be best kept out of the hands of a greedy civil service CEO.
Mercury R. Williams
I don’t really think it makes any difference in the quality of the Mint management whether the job is a political appointment or a civil service one. It will still be screwed up due to political pressure, and the Mint output of products will not be in the best interest of the country. It’s just the way things are now in this country, unfortunately.
Let it be a civil service position. As in most businesses, even at Krause Publications, promote from within. The only reason to consider is the person qualified. The best candidate usually comes from within. After all, choose someone who knows from within.
Berkel en Rodenrijs, Netherlands
I see no reason for the director’s position to be a political position in my opinion.