HEW press release on the selection and appointment of advisors and consultants
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1970-01-02 (January 2, 1970)
U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
Original Repository: Stanford University Libraries. Department of Special Collections and University Archives. Paul Berg Papers
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Protein Synthesis, Tumor Viruses, and Recombinant DNA, 1959-1975
Letter from Daniel M. Singer to NIH Study Section members (January 9, 1970)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 2, 1970
Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Robert H. Finch today announced
approval of revised procedures for the selection and appointment of advisors and
consultants hired on a part-time basis to assist the Department in non-sensitive
Highlights of these new procedures are:
(1) The present HEW practice of pre-appointive investigations by the Department's Office of Internal Security will be
(2) The constituent agencies of the Department will be responsible for evaluating prospective advisors and consultants.
(3) Appointments will be made on the basis of professional competence, that is, integrity, judgment and ability,
(4) If an agency has evidence suggesting that a prospective appointee
possesses traits that would so adversely affect the performance of his job as to
disqualify him, the individual will be given the opportunity to challenge the
(5) In lieu of a pre-appointment investigation for loyalty, the individual will be required to execute an appointment affidavit
which will be subject to a post
appointment veracity check as is done for all Federal employees.
The decision to institute new procedures climaxes several months of intensive
study of current practices of the Department by Department officials. This study was led by HEW Under Secretary John G. Veneman,
and a consultant, H. Reed Ellis, of Columbia University, who submitted a report and recommendations on December 1, 1969.
The study was initiated in response to longstanding criticisms from the scientific community and elsewhere alleging the "blacklisting"
of certain scientists as well as other arbitrary and unfair aspects of the investigation of prospective advisors and consultants.
About a month after the study began, Under Secretary Veneman directed all agency heads in the Department to insure that "blacklisting"
did not occur in such agencies, and agency heads were invited to submit comments and suggestions on the appointment process.
Secretary Finch said:
''On the basis of the study and the constructive comments of many interested
individuals and organizations, both within and outside of the Department, we feel
we can implement a procedure that will protect the rights of individuals while at
the same the safeguard the public interest."
Details of the new appointment procedures will be drafted for formal inclusion in the Department's manuals.
Secretary Finch further said:
"The Ellis report traces the historical development of the Department's appointment procedures. It suggests that much
of the difficulty was self-imposed
by the Department over the years, but that we can overcome the difficulties by
replacing archaic practices with pragmatic ones adequate to do the job. Today's
decision is the first step in a long overdue updating of our appointment procedures."