WASHINGTON-The Federal Communications Commission could be heading for a shake-up.
Commissioner Andrew Barrett, a Republican appointed by President Bush, has signaled he’ll be leaving the agency by May. His departure has been anticipated for months, following the expiration of his term last June.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Larry Pressler (R-S.D.) last week asked Barrett to postpone his retirement from the FCC until the end of 1996, perhaps worried that FCC Chairman Reed Hundt, a Clinton Democrat, will gain too much of an upper hand with the former Illinois utility regulator gone.
Barrett, a vocal foe of Hundt, reportedly is headed to a firm involved in international communications.
Meanwhile, Commissioner James Quello, a conservative Democrat who’s had numerous run-ins with Hundt, said he will not seek re-appointment when his term ends June 30, but is willing to serve beyond that time until a replacement is named. Quello has served on the commission since 1974.
Hundt’s future at the FCC is unclear as well. A rumor out of the agency last week had the FCC chairman lobbying to succeed Attorney General Janet Reno. Hundt has brushed aside any notion of moving elsewhere in the Clinton administration.