And you know that notion just crossed my mind
-- The Grateful Dead
As the days tick down to January 20, my good friends in the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations become a little bit scarcer. Of course, Director Lydia Muniz will depart. So will Deputy Director Casey Jones, who came over from the General Services Administration a few years ago to start OBO's Design Excellence program.
Jones was initially detailed to OBO from GSA, and was later appointed a Deputy Director. I've always assumed he was a political appointee, but was never certain about that. Whatever his employment status, Jones will now resign "to pursue opportunities in the private sector," as was announced yesterday in Architect Magazine.
“We had set a goal of restructuring the way in which our embassies were designed so that they better reflect the best of America and we had some great progress in that area,” Jones says. “We’ve really elevated the quality of our embassies while keeping them on the same schedule and budget, and we have a great management team in place, so I sort of fulfilled my mission.”
What? He said his Excellence program elevated the quality of new embassy construction projects while keeping them on the same schedule and budget? The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee disagrees about that, rather vehemently. But, the criticism of Congress will cease to bother Jones after the 20th of January.
Although Architect Magazine identified Jones as merely the Director of Design Excellence at OBO, according to his official bio, Jones was responsible for much more than that: "Casey Jones is Deputy Director of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations (OBO) at the U. S. Department of State where he oversees the Program Development, Coordination and Support and Construction, Facilities and Security Management Directorates." That portfolio sounds kind of sweeping, starting with design development and ending with construction management, with security in between.
To an outside observer such as myself it seems that Jones took on a range and level of responsibilities for which his background as, basically, a design consultant, left him ill-equipped. That kind of guy always bugs me. You know, the kind who knows all about how to do a job that he has never actually done himself? If Jones was ever the architect of record or project manager of anything at all, I'll happily stand corrected.
I wish Jones all the best in those private sector pursuits. Meanwhile, for the friends he leaves behind in OBO, there will be trouble ahead as they drive on into the next era of new embassy program management, one in which we Make Embassies Great Again.