attend U.S. Treasury Bureau Heads meetings that were conducted every month. Larry Summers was an interesting person to say the least. He was and still is a brilliant man and staff meetings with him were challenging since there was no fooling the smartest man in the room. It was sort of fun for me seeing some bureau heads try to gloss over significant issues and be asked probing questions by a very perceptive individual. Larry Summers was smart, knew it, and loved to demonstrate that to his staff. Another really interesting Treasury leader was Sam Bodman, Deputy Secretary under Secretary John Snow. He was a shrewd businessman. He came from the energy industry and had been Deputy Secretary at Commerce before coming to Treasury. Subsequent to my retirement he became the 11th Secretary of Energy. He was a nononsense person and was outstanding in handling Treasury operations, in my opinion. He commanded respect and was easy to talk to, never missing a thing and a quick learner about some of the unique aspects of the alcohol beverage industry.
What is an example where the Bureau enforced in a tough manner?
Top accomplishments at TTB. Top disappointments.
I cannot say that ATF/TTB enforced the rules in anything but a fair manner, neither lenient nor tough. At ATF/ TTB we always tried to take into account all factors in deciding on corrective action. Voluntary compliance was and still is the goal but sometimes administrative actions were needed to get the message across to some. The Bureau always used permit actions (suspensions and revocations) and Offers in Compromise in a way that would hopefully promote voluntary compliance in the future. Speaking of specific cases would be inappropriate on my part since there are laws that assure the privacy of both individuals and companies with respect to their dealings with the government.
I suppose my top accomplishment was successfully managing the transition of TTB when TTB was split off from ATF in 2002-2003. Among other things, we had to: start from scratch, establish a workable budget, recruit and retain the best people, set up offices where we needed them, and so forth. At the time we decided to employ mobile workplace rules in a big way, saving a lot of money. Today, most of the TTB workforce can work from or out of their homes, especially the field investigators and auditors. Physical offices are at a minimum, allowing TTB to be both flexible in its staffing and responsive to changes in work priorities. As for any disappointments, I cannot say that I had any of major consequence. When ATF was reorganized in 1994, it wasnâ€™t something I agreed with totally, but of course I was supportive of the decision. It was at a time when firearm and explosives enforcement was a priority and the changes affected the alcohol and tobacco mission in a negative way. Resources were gradually diverted from the alcohol and tobacco programs. However, several years later ATF leadership, including the Director, realized that some adjustments were needed; eventually the Alcohol & Tobacco office was established to renew focus on that mission. Ultimately the events of 9/11 led to the establishment of TTB so, in my mind, things were moving back in the right direction.
Something funny that happened? I am drawing a blank on this one although I am sure I laughed once in awhile. Something wonderful that happened is that I met my wife while working at Distillerie Stock in New York City in 1971. Linda was assistant to the VP and General Counsel. She was responsible for filing the tax returns and paying the taxes every two weeks, filing for COLAs and formulas, etc. That was a time when the tax returns and checks were handed to the government officer on premises (me) no later than 2 pm every two weeks on the 15th and the last day of the month.
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