(July 4) -- Before taking over as the nation's public printer, Bruce James promised the White House and Congress he would retool and modernize the historic Government Printing Office.
After six months, he noted he has recruited six of 12 top GPO managers from the private sector, and kept just two of the other six in the same jobs as when he took over in December. "We now have square pegs in square holes," James said.
James, 60, a Nevada resident who in 1998 abandoned a short-lived candidacy for U.S. Senate, accepted President Bush's nomination late last year as the nation's 24th public printer, his title as head of the GPO.
The agency, which opened in 1861, oversees the production of government documents as massive as the annual federal budget and as personal as passports. The GPO also disseminates government information to depository libraries around the country -- perhaps its more important role in the maintenance of democracy.
He made a $35 million fortune introducing computer technologies to print communication, and must now transform an agency that experts say has been slow to keep pace with the modern information economy.
"I have come to the conclusion that this is going to be the best job I have ever had, and the reason is, it's the toughest," he said during a Senate budget review in March.
(BY Steve Tetreault. Las Vegas Review-Journal. Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.)