News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

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Finance, Management Positions Filled At Education Department

Filling two longtime vacancies, Jack Martin and William J. Leidinger have been sworn in to senior Department of Education posts. Mr. Martin is the new chief financial officer, and Mr. Leidinger is the assistant secretary for management.

Recent reports have criticized the Education Department's financial-management system, and Secretary of Education Rod Paige has vowed to improve it. These two leadership positions, Mr. Paige has said, will be key parts of the management team "to put the department's business in order."

Mr. Martin has financial experience in both the public and private sectors, and founded an accounting firm in 1975.

Mr. Leidinger, a former county executive and local politician, worked from 1997 until last year in a suburban Washington office of PricewaterhouseCoopers, a New York City- and London-based accounting and business-consulting company.

The chief financial officer slot has been vacant since April 1999. Mr. Martin was first nominated last July, but the Senate did not approve the nomination until Jan. 25. The position of assistant secretary for management, which likewise required Senate confirmation, had been vacant for more than six years.

—Erik W. Robelen

Lee to Direct Special Education Programs

Stephanie Smith Lee, a disabilities-policy expert and the mother of a special education student, has taken the helm as director of the Education Department's office of special education programs.

Ms. Lee, appointed last week, will administer programs related to education, training, and services for individuals with disabilities, and coordinate the agency's state-formula and discretionary-grant programs.

Ms. Smith had previously served as a government- affairs representative for the New York City-based National Down Syndrome Society. From 2000 until recently, Ms. Lee was a member of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act Advisory Panel, a group that advises the president and Congress about helping people with disabilities enter the workforce.

—Lisa Fine

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