Carmen Rottenberg has named by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to serve as the acting under secretary for Food Safety, while Paul Kiecker has been appointed to serve as the acting administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

Both appointments are effective August 1, following the retirement of longtime FSIS leader Alfred V. Almanza, who had been with the agency for 39 years.

Carmen Rottenberg

In her new role, Rottenberg will oversee development, implementation and enforcement of all of FSIS’ regulations, policies and programs. This appointment follows nearly six years in leadership roles in the FSIS Office of the Administrator, including serving as the chief of staff, the chief operating officer and, most recently, the deputy administrator.

In those leadership roles, Rottenberg executed a budget of over $1 billion, prioritizing resources and resolving disputes, advancing the agency’s vision and goals, and leading innovative solutions to challenges in FSIS. She has spearheaded strategic planning at FSIS and implemented numerous initiatives to strategically move the agency forward. She implemented two major reorganizations leading to a more streamlined, efficient agency better positioned to carry out its food safety mission, according to an FSIS news release. She is also credited for her vision that led to the very successful i-Impact initiative, which has increased the awareness of and engagement in FSIS’ public health mission by the more than 9,000 employees throughout the agency.

Rottenberg joined FSIS as an equal employment opportunity specialist in 2007, and went on to become the deputy director of the Civil Rights staff.

Rottenberg began her federal government career in the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of General Counsel, and prior to joining FSIS, Rottenberg was a law clerk at a small law firm in Fairfax, Virginia. Rottenberg holds a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and a JD degree from American University’s Washington College of Law.

Paul Kiecker

Kiecker, a 29-year FSIS employee, has been committed to a strong public health vision that has guided him to overcome obstacles, identify opportunities for improvement, efficiently manage resources, and achieve food safety objectives to prevent foodborne illness, the press release stated.

Paul Kiecker has been named acting administrator of FSIS. | USDA

Since joining FSIS in 1988 as a food inspector, Kiecker has served in a number of roles at the agency. Most recently, he served as deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Field Operations (OFO). He came to Washington, D.C. to serve as executive associate for Regulatory Operations, after serving as the district manager in Springdale, Arkansas, and Madison, Wisconsin, as well as deputy district manager in Madison. Kiecker’s experience with FSIS also includes work with the Office of Investigation, Enforcement, and Audit (OIEA), where he served as a compliance investigator and as a supervisory compliance officer. 

In his various positions with FSIS, Kiecker has been credited with playing a critical role in leading external coordination with other federal agencies, state and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, international organizations, and law enforcement agencies. He has also had oversight responsibility for strategic planning, policy formulation and implementation, budget development and execution, human resource management, and day-to-day inspection operations.