Trump administration official sent to overhaul State Department quits after just three months

Former finacial industry executive Maliz Beams is 'stepping away' from the role

Sally Hayden
Tuesday 28 November 2017 13:27
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A senior official tasked by Donald Trump to lead a restructure of the State Department has resigned after just three months.

Maliz Beams, a former financial industry executive is “stepping away” to return to Boston, a department spokesman said on condition of anonymity.

She was only named State Department Counselor on 17 August.

Christine Ciccone, the department’s deputy chief of staff, will take over the agency’s “redesign,” the spokesman added.

"We appreciate Maliz sharing her expertise with us over the past few months," a State Department spokesperson said in a separate statement. "We wish her the best of luck in her next venture."

With her departure, seven of the nine posts for "senior officials" on the State Department website are vacant.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been criticised by current and former US diplomats, as well as by some members of Congress, for his management of the agency.

Ten months into his tenure many positions in the department remain unfilled.

The department has also seen an exodus of senior diplomats.

Mr Tillerson defended the department when he was asked recently about morale problems and concerns that the agency was being weakened.

“The redesign is going to address all of that," he said less than a fortnight ago. "And this department is performing extraordinarily well, and I take exception to anyone who characterises otherwise. It’s just not true."

State Department officials observing the reorganisation say it has been plagued with uncertainty both about what Mr Tillerson wants to achieve and how to go about it.

“If the one thing she (Beams) was asked to do was the redesign and she is quitting," said one official who spoke to the Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity.

They added: "How does this not reflect poorly on the overall management of this enterprise, that is the redesign?”

Another State Department official said Ms Beams had left of her own volition and was not fired.

She did not immediately respond to messages left at her office or to an email sent to her State Department address.

The State Department spokesman declined comment on criticism of the reorganisation.

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.

Additional reporting by agencies.

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