Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
For Immediate Release:August 17, 2004
Anderson: Leadership Transition for Indian Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs David Anderson has announced that Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Aurene M. Martin plans to leave her post in September and that Mike Olsen, currently the Counselor to the Assistant Secretary, will assume many of the duties of the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary effective immediately.

Martin informed Interior Secretary Gale Norton of her plans to leave the Department effective September 10 to pursue employment in the private sector. Ethics guidelines established to protect departing employees and the Department from potential conflict-of-interest issues have prompted Martin to seek recusal from any and all potential issues which may be of interest to prospective employers, prompting Olsen's designation to assume the duties of the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary.

"Aurene Martin has provided policy and program leadership within Indian Affairs over the past three years and has made a lasting and positive impact on Indian country," Secretary Norton said today. "Her talent and managerial skills have been tremendously helpful on issues such as education, economic development, and trust reform. She has my admiration, respect and my best wishes for the future."

Anderson also praised Martin's achievements in a memorandum to employees released today:

"During my short tenure as Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs, I have had an opportunity to work with Aurene on several issues and, as a result, have joined the ranks of other Interior officials who view Aurene as a tremendous asset," Anderson wrote employees. "I have high regard for her capabilities and leadership and I have found her legal background and her Capitol Hill experience to be extremely valuable. I've also been impressed with her contributions on Indian education, gaming, law enforcement, fiduciary trust management, and appropriations."

Mike Olsen, Anderson's selection to assume the duties of the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, has served as Counselor to the Assistant Secretary since May of 2003, with particular emphasis on natural resources and land use issues. Previously, Olsen served as Director of the Office of Native American and Insular Affairs for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Resources. He holds a law degree from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

"Mike Olsen has been instrumental in helping to resolve difficult natural resource issues - often bridging the gap between fiercely held opinions on these contentious matters," Anderson said. "Mike's determination to help Native people and his dedication as a public servant has made him my choice for this new assignment."



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