June 2, 2004

Happy Birthday SEC! On Thursday,

On Thursday, the SEC celebrates its 70th birthday with a small party for members of the SEC Historical Society and current SEC staffers – join the Society now by making a small donation. As part of its 5th Annual Meeting on Thursday, the Society is offering this free webcast with Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, who will discuss Joseph P. Kennedy as the first SEC Chairman.

Some of you might have been at the SEC’s 60th celebration at the National Building Mueseum a decade ago. Boy, that was some bash!

SEC Staffers in Need of a Shrink?

Thanks to Bruce Carton for digging out this gem – I gotta repeat his blog verbatim:

“Attention psychologists! You have just 9 more days to respond to the SEC’s job posting seeking an in-house psychologist to help “improve employee attitudes and satisfaction related to employee retention, job satisfaction, burnout, conflict and stress.”

The SEC’s decision to hire a psychologist for its employees, discussed in this article by Judith Burns of the AP, was reportedly met with a steady stream of one-liners from former SEC officials, including:

Bill McLucas (former Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement): “Just one? They should get a couple.” McLucas also figured “it’s going to take more than two years” to buck up morale at the federal securities agency. “This is a long-term job.” McLucas also was quoted as saying said he’d like current Enforcement director Stephen Cutler to get the first appointment once the psychologist is on board so that “he can take out his hostilities with that person instead of my clients.”

David Becker (former SEC General Counsel): “Working for the SEC in the current media climate is enough to drive anybody nuts.” Becker also wondered if the SEC is “about to introduce the group hug as a regulatory technique.”

Harvey Pitt (former SEC Chairman): “The SEC is a great place to work, but it is not for the faint of heart.” Asked if the SEC is a very stressful place to work, he joked: “Certainly, if you’re chairman.”

Laura Unger (former acting SEC Chairman): Asked whether SEC employees would line up to talk to a psychologist, Unger said “I have this picture of Charlie Brown sitting at his window with a ‘doctor is in’ sign and nobody showing up.”

Personally, I don’t know what to make of this other than I predict that a lot of heated discussions with SEC staff are going to end with the following salvo by defense counsel: “I think you need to see the SEC shrink!”