As announced previously, USDA Food Safety and inspection Service (FSIS) Administrator Al Almanza has retired after 39 years of service to the agency. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that beginning Aug.1, 2017, Carmen Rottenberg will be the acting deputy undersecretary for food safety. Paul Kiecker will be the acting administrator. FSIS’ mission to protect public health is critical, and our work to protect public health will continue with the new leadership.
Carmen Rottenberg was appointed acting deputy undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office for Food Safety in August 2017. In this position, Rottenberg oversees development, implementation and enforcement of all of FSIS’ regulations, policies and programs. This appointment follows nearly six years in leadership roles in the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS) office of the administrator, including serving as the chief of staff, the chief operating officer and, most recently, the deputy administrator.
In those leadership roles, Rottenberg executed a budget of more than $1 billion, prioritizing resources and resolving disputes, advancing the agency’s vision and goals, and leading innovative solutions to challenges in FSIS. She has spearheaded strategic planning at FSIS and implemented numerous initiatives to strategically move the agency forward. She implemented two major reorganizations leading to a more streamlined, efficient agency better positioned to carry out its food safety mission. Through her leadership and oversight, an early governance process matured into an established systematic approach to agency decision-making, resulting in more deliberative, science-based decisions that consider enterprise-wide risks and benefits. Rottenberg’s vision led to the very successful i-Impact initiative which has increased the awareness of and engagement in FSIS’ public health mission by the more than 9,000 employees throughout the agency.
Rottenberg joined FSIS as an equal employment opportunity specialist in 2007, and went on to become the deputy director of the civil rights staff. Conducting training and working with FSIS employees from every program area and location while in those positions provided Rottenberg with a broad agency perspective.
Rottenberg began her Federal government career in the Federal Trade Commission;s Office of General Counsel, and prior to joining FSIS, was a law clerk at a small law firm in Fairfax, Virginia. Rottenberg holds a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and a JD degree from American University’s Washington College of Law.
Paul Kiecker was named acting administrator for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in August 2017. Throughout his 29 years with FSIS, Kiecker has been committed to a strong public health vision that has guided him to overcome obstacles, identify opportunities for improvement, efficiently manage resources, and achieve food safety objectives to prevent foodborne illness.
Since joining FSIS in 1988 as a food inspector, Kiecker has served in a number of roles at the agency. Most recently, he served as deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Field Operations (OFO). He came to Washington D.C. to serve as executive associate for regulatory operations after serving as the district manager in Springdale, Arkansas, and Madison, Wisconsin, as well as deputy district manager in Madison, Wisconsin. Kiecker’s experience with FSIS also includes work with the office of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit (OIEA), where he has served as a compliance investigator and as supervisory compliance officer.
In his various positions with FSIS, Kiecker has played a critical role in leading external coordination with other federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, international organizations, and law enforcement agencies. He has also had oversight responsibility for strategic planning, policy formulation and implementation, budget development and execution, human resource management, and day-to-day inspection operations.