Arts endowment head to leave job this year

April 25, 2001|By Glenn McNatt | Glenn McNatt,SUN STAFF

National Endowment for the Arts chairman Bill Ivey announced yesterday that he will resign in September, eight months before the four-year term he was appointed to by former President Bill Clinton ends.

Ivey submitted his resignation in a letter to President Bush. The White House had not responded to the letter yesterday.

"My hope is that by announcing now that I will step down at the end of this fiscal year, the new administration will be able to move efficiently to choose new leadership for the arts endowment," Ivey said in a statement.

Ivey is widely credited with saving the once-embattled agency from conservative critics who wanted to shut it down. Last year, he engineered a $7 million funding increase, to $105 million, the NEA's first budget hike since 1992. During his tenure, Ivey worked with Congress to ensure public support.

An agency aide said the Bush administration did not pressure Ivey to step down. The NEA chairman is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Still, Ivey's position had been a question mark since last year's presidential election changed the political landscape.

"I will continue to work aggressively with this Congress to complete the budget appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2002 and to ensure that there is a smooth transition within the office of chairman," he said.

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