WASHINGTON — At a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee business meeting Wednesday, Ranking Member Senator Susan Collins, R-Me., opposed President Obama’s nomination of Rafael Borras to be Under Secretary of Management at the Department of Homeland Security. The committee, chaired by Senator Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., approved the nomination, largely along party lines. The nomination must now be considered by the full Senate. Following the vote, Senator Collins released this statement:
“It is extremely unusual for me to oppose the nomination of a person to serve in the Cabinet or in a senior Executive branch position – for this president or any other president. But I cannot support the nomination of Mr. Borras.
“The position is of critical importance, managing more than 200,000 employees, a $50 billion annual budget, expensive procurement projects and vital interagency coordination. The management and leadership challenges facing the Department of Homeland Security, a relatively new department created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, are sizeable and daunting.
“Over the past seven years, the Department has struggled to complete the enormous task of integrating more than 200,000 employees and more than two dozen federal agencies. The Government Accountability Office has placed transformation of DHS on its ‘high-risk list,’ concluding that DHS is ‘susceptible to waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement’ during this critical transition period. For all those reasons, the Under Secretary must have extensive executive leadership abilities and a track record of management successes.
“That is precisely why two years ago our committee worked to elevate the Under Secretary for Management, the person responsible for integrating the management functions at DHS, to the level of Deputy Secretary. The Under Secretary now serves as the principal advisor to the Secretary on the management of the Department and is responsible for continuing to integrate the organization.
“Under that 2007 law, the Under Secretary is required to have significant leadership capability, extensive executive-level management experience, a demonstrated ability to manage large and complex organizations and a proven record in achieving positive operational results.
“I have carefully reviewed Mr. Borras’ resume and previous positions. While Mr. Borras is admirably committed to public service, I have concluded that his experience is not sufficient to overcome the challenges DHS faces.
“In Mr. Borras’ current private sector position, where he is one of dozens of vice presidents, he manages only about 100 people. Mr. Borras’ experience also pales in comparison to that of his two immediate
predecessors, both of whom had considerable government experience managing large and complex organizations.
“Mr. Borras’ experience simply fails to meet the statutory requirements that we put in law. I believe that the President would be better served by appointing him to a different position with less significant management responsibilities.
“Additionally, Mr. Borras’ numerous tax errors on recent federal income tax filings are notable and troubling. The repeated tax errors, found in his 2005 and 2006 returns, are concerning because they show a lack of attention of detail and a pattern of carelessness.”