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Key CDC Official Takes Job in Iraq

November 1, 2007
by Alison Young
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The No. 2 official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a key architect of the agency's controversial reorganization is taking an indefinite assignment to work in Iraq as part of a federal reconstruction team. Bill Gimson, the CDC's chief operating officer, will be going on "temporary" assignment next month with the U.S. State Department. He'll be part of a team of military and civilian personnel with expertise in government, budget, business and economics issues, the agency told employees late Tuesday. It's unclear where in Iraq he'll be based, or what his duties will include. While CDC Director Julie Gerberding is the public face of CDC, Gimson is viewed by many within the Atlanta-based agency as its most influential figure and a key controller of its $8 billion budget. "This is a major change for the organization," said Jeff Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health, a public health watchdog group based in Washington. "This is the person who makes the trains run on time. It is the person who translates the director's vision and policy goals."

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