I don’t doubt that they may just be saying that to please their superiors. But from this article alone, I’m not even sure exactly what the appointees really do, besides some stuff with policy and funds allocations. To what extent does their power range? What exactly are they doing? And why is this something I should be worried about? Perhaps you have an inkling beyond what this specific article is saying. I’d love to know more before I take a stance either way.
Well, one that they specifically mention in the article is this:
... Jeffrey T. Salmon, who has a doctorate in world politics and was a speechwriter for Vice President Cheney when he served as defense secretary, had been selected as deputy director for resource management in the Energy Department’s Office of Science. In that position, he oversees decisions on its grants and budget.
HERE is the org chart for the Office of Science, and HERE is the org chart for the deputy director of resource management. Basically he’s the lead guy that decides how to budget and give money. This is the perfect position to put a political appointee if you’re looking to politicize the organization, since it gives you an immediate quid-pro-quo. You do (political) business with us and you get funded. You don’t, you don’t. The implication from this guy’s history is that he is there to reward and punish rather than to allocate funds based on the merits. He doesn’t have the background to know the merits.
Now, obviously it will, in the long run, depend on whether this and the other individuals named decide to be professional in their jobs or not. Even someone without the right background can defer to others in the organization to provide the right information, and to help out. But prima facie it doesn’t look good.