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O’Neill’s Last Day Set for Dec. 31

December 19, 2002

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, the first Cabinet member to leave the Bush administration, will serve until the end of the year, it was announced Wednesday.

Treasury Department spokesman Rob Nichols said that O’Neill’s last day on the job will be Dec. 31. Starting on Jan. 1, Deputy Treasury Secretary Kenneth Dam, the No. 2 official in the department, will become acting Treasury secretary.

Dam will serve in that position until the Senate acts on President Bush’s nomination of railroad executive John Snow, chairman of CSX Corp., to replace O’Neill.

Bush on Dec. 6 shook up his economics team by firing O’Neill and Lawrence Lindsey, the director of the president’s National Economic Council, in an effort to find more effective spokesmen for the administration’s economic policies.

Informed of the president’s decision by Vice President Dick Cheney, O’Neill submitted a terse three-sentence resignation letter saying he would be leaving the administration, but he did not give an exact departure date.

Since that time, O’Neill has remained out of public view, working in his Treasury office to wrap up pending matters.

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