Senate confirms FCC nominees; Tristani shuffles personal staff
On May 25, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm three new FCC commissioners and to extend the term of Republican FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell an additional five years to June 30, 2007.
Republican Kevin J. Martin was confirmed for a term beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2006. When sworn in, he will fill a seat vacated when former Democratic Chairman William E. Kennard resigned in January.
Republican Kathleen Q. Abernathy was confirmed for a term that began on July 1, 1999, and ends on June 30, 2004. The seat Abernathy will take at the commission will be vacated by Democrat Susan Ness on May 31. Ness served the commission for seven years and holds her current seat under a recess appointment by former President Bill Clinton. Clinton had appointed Ness for a full term, but the Senate Commerce Committee, chaired by John McCain (R-AZ), did not vote on whether to approve the appointment for a vote of the full Senate.
Democrat Michael Joseph Copps was confirmed for a term that began on July 1, 2000, and ends on June 30, 2005. He takes over from Republican Harold Furchtgott-Roth, who continues as a commissioner past his term’s expiration until his successor is sworn in.
Remaining with Powell as a holdover from the Clinton Administration is Democrat Gloria Tristani who has served since Nov. 3, 1997. Her term extends to June 30, 2003. She has indicated a desire to run for state office in New Mexico, however, and she might resign before the end of the year.
In the meantime, Tristani is making changes to her personal staff. Senior Legal Advisor William J. Friedman IV and Legal Advisor Sarah Whitesell will depart in June. Former advisors Paul Gallant and Deena Shetler will rejoin the commissioner’s staff.
Gallant will serve as legal adviser for mass media and cable issues, and Shetler will serve as legal adviser for common carrier issues. Adam Krinsky, who covers wireless and international issues for the commissioner, will assume the responsibilities of senior legal adviser.
“Both Jay and Sarah have done extraordinary work in this office,” Tristani said. “I thank them for their dedication to the public interest, and I’ll miss their wise counsel.
“At the same time, I am very fortunate to assemble a new team of top-notch lawyers with familiar faces. Paul and Deena have outstanding legal skills, and they will hit the ground running. In addition, I am very pleased that Adam has agreed to serve as senior legal adviser.”
Friedman, who will depart on June 8, has been selected as one of the two senior fellows in Duke Law School’s Program in Intellectual Property, Public Interest and the Public Domain. The Fellowship Program is supported by the Ford Foundation and the Center for the Public Domain.
Whitesell, who has served for more than two years as Commissioner Tristani’s legal advisor, will be joining the Cable Services Bureau as Associate Bureau Chief on June 21. In the Bureau, she will be responsible for broadband and other issues.
Gallant previously served as Commissioner Tristani’s legal adviser for common carrier matters from 1997 to 1999. After leaving the commission in 1999, he served as senior policy counsel at Qwest Communications. He joins the FCC from BroadBand Office Inc., where he served as senior counsel. Prior to joining Tristani’s staff in 1997, he was a legal advisor to former commissioner James Quello. Gallant has also held positions in the FCC’s Common Carrier Bureau, Cable Services Bureau and Office of General Counsel. He graduated from Georgetown University and received his law degree from Catholic University Law School.
Shetler previously served as Commissioner Tristani’s legal adviser for common carrier issues on a detail from August 2000 to February 2001. Prior to that assignment, she served as legal counsel to the Common Carrier Bureau chief and as an attorney-adviser and team leader in the Enforcement Division of the Common Carrier Bureau. Before joining the FCC, she was an associate at the law firm of Howrey and Simon. Shetler received her law degree from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law and her undergraduate degree from the University of California San Diego.