Top scientist says Bush’s ‘burrowing’ of political appointees will ‘leave wreckage behind.’

Yesterday, the president of the nation’s largest general science organization railed against efforts by the Bush administration to give political appointees “permanent federal jobs with responsibility for making or administering scientific policies, saying the result would be ‘to leave wreckage behind.'” James McCarthy, who heads the American Association for the Advancement of Science, called the “burrowing” of people without scientific backgrounds into science-related jobs “ludicrous“:

It’s ludicrous to have people who do not have a scientific background, who are not trained and skilled in the ways of science, make decisions that involve resources, that involve facilities in the scientific infrastructure,” said James McCarthy, a Harvard University oceanographer who is president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “You’d just like to think people have more respect for the institution of government than to leave wreckage behind with these appointments.”

McCarthy particularly questioned the qualifications of Todd Harding and Jeffrey T. Salmon, who received civil service positions at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Energy Department’s Office of Science, respectively.