Science News has more detail on the rumors surrounding Rita Colwell’s imminent departure as director of NSF. Maybe most interestingly, they suggest Arden Bement, currently head of NIST, would take over NSF as interim director. Here’s a bit of the scoop:
Rumors were circulating in Washington, D.C., last week that Colwell planned to announce her departure as early as this week, shortly before the president’s 2005 budget is unveiled, and that it was tied to her frustration with a succession of stingy White House budget requests for the agency. Arden Bement, the current director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, was said to have accepted the job as interim NSF director and was preparing to testify in that capacity at an 11 February hearing of the House Science Committee.
But those rumors appear to have been wrong. Science Committee staff say Colwell accepted their invitation in late December and hasn’t notified them of any change of plans. NIST spokesperson Matthew Heyman says that Bement “doesn’t have 11 February on his calendar.” And NSF’s William Noxon says that Colwell plans to both unveil the president’s 2005 budget for NSF on 2 February and represent NSF at the committee hearing. Last week Colwell told Science that she was not leaving anytime soon.
Our best info is that some members of Congress were given the “head’s up” last week that Colwell planned to resign in as soon as two weeks. Colwell’s six year term as director expires this August.