Another NTIA Boss Quitting

The government office in charge of the $1.5 billion coupon program for digital-to-analog converter boxes is becoming tough to fill. Meredith Attwell Baker, acting administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, plans to leave the post after just three months on the job.

The NTIA didn’t announce her plans, but Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued a statement Feb. 28 thanking her for her willingness to stay until a replacement is found.

“Given ongoing concerns about the converter box coupon program, it is important that there be continuity of leadership at NTIA,” Dingell’s statement said. “I’m pleased Ms. Baker is committed to remaining at NTIA until a replacement is confirmed and urge the President to nominate a well-qualified replacement who is knowledgeable about the transition and whose arrival will not cause any disruptions at this critical time in the transition.”

In a Feb. 13, Dingell subjected the acting administrator to one of his trademark grillings in which he tries to force the witness to answer yes or no to questions on complex matters; Baker, unlike many witnesses before the committee, managed to get in some nuanced answers full of detailed financial analysis.

Baker took the NTIA reins Dec. 1 after former Administrator John Kneuer left. She has spent four years at NTIA.