Following the Lead of the Secret Service at MD Anderson

Following the Lead of the
Secret Service at MD Anderson


Leonard Zwelling

         On January 14, the US Secret Service announced the dismissal
of four major leaders based on the poor performance of those under their
supervision. Incidents including the use of prostitutes by agents in advance of
a Presidential trip to South America and the horrendous incident on the White
House lawn that allowed an intruder to reach the inside of 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue were cited as reasons for the firings. In other words, the new, ad-interim boss (under heavy congressional urging) finally said enough is enough. I cannot make this work with these folks in
positions of authority.

         This is a strategy that might have been employed by the new
leadership of MD Anderson in 2011 or for that matter right now, although at
this point it might take a Navy SEAL to seal the deal.

         As far as I know, none of the current MD Anderson executives
has utilized the services of illegal sex workers while on official business nor
has there been a major security breach in Pickens. Nonetheless, the measure
that really matters and which is continuing to be in free fall in both
organizations, the Secret Service and MD Anderson, is the same—morale. It’s

         No amount of hand holding by the Provost or CMO (each
other’s hands, I mean), malevolence by the Chief of Staff, or indolence by the
EVP for whatever Mr. Leach is these days can overcome the fact that these folks
simply are not capable of building morale back to where it was a mere 15 years
ago. There’s no trust left.

years? Am I kidding? No, I am not, for this dilemma did not start with the
coming of DePinho. Oh sure, he made it worse with his characteristic strutting,
yelling, threatening and several of us being informed by his wife who she sleeps. These are not conducive to high faculty morale. Neither is the designer casting
couch. But this is all a hold over from the Mendelsohn-Hong-Fontaine-Leach era
of Soviet-style centralized authority and the lust for money. Are we really
supposed to take a President willing to put the name of a major anti-Semite on
the side of a state research building seriously? I think not. (Well at least
this time he cashed the check before he wrote the name on the building unlike what he did on
the South Campus a while back).

if the US Secret Service can admit to having behaved badly (and by the way the
dismissed were not all males), surely the Pickens Charges can find work
elsewhere or nowhere for all I care. Let’s start over. If those protecting
POTUS can get a new set of leaders those protecting the legacy of R. Lee Clark
and Mickey LeMaistre can as well.

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