One of the key FCC contacts in the 800 MHz rebanding process has been reassigned to the commission’s Media bureau from his previous post in the Public Safety and Homeland Security (PSHS) bureau.

Prior to the reassignment, Michael Wilhelm was deputy chief of the PSHS bureau’s policy division. A primary author of the 800 MHz rebanding order, Wilhelm and David Furth—an associate chief in the PSHS bureau—have been primary contacts for public-safety representative on rebanding policy issues. Furth remains in the PSHS bureau.

Word of the reassignment began spreading last week throughout the public-safety community, but an FCC spokesman this week declined to comment on the matter or even confirm that Wilhelm was reassigned, noting that the agency does not comment on internal personnel matters. However, the directory on the FCC web site has been changed this week to reflect that Wilhelm is now a member of the media bureau.

“We’re certainly disappointed to see Michael reassigned,” said Alan Tilles, an attorney representing many 800 MHz licensees in rebanding negotiations as a partner in the law firm of Shulman Rogers Gandal Pordy & Ecker. “We hope that the bureau will be able to continue at maximum capacity to address rebanding issues.”

With 800 MHz rebanding already well behind schedule and virtually all participants acknowledging that the massive project cannot be completed by the FCC’s June 2008 deadline, several public-safety officials privately have expressed concern that Wilhelm’s absence could slow the process.