Wikipedia’s zombie navy women

Gladys Commons, appointed by Obama, does *not* work for Trump

So what is new… yet another group of women ignored by Wikipedia. This time it is women in the U.S. Navy.

Exhibit A is one Gladys J. Commons, who served as a high level comptroller, or maybe assistant, from 11/3/2009 – 3/29/2013.  According to her official Navy bio, she retired from the Navy in 3/29/2013.  But according to her Wikipedia article, this Obama appointee is still holding down a seat in the Trump administration.

Fortunately for the Navy, they still have the unfortunate Kumioko as their only link to fixing these Wikipedia snafus, and Kumioko has posted it on one of the criticism sites.

So, is she notable?  Did she do any “heavy lifting”, as one of the regulars asked? Probably and probably not. Her bio lists all kinds of awards and honors, so that’s good enough for me. And without knowing the particulars of this specific individual, my understanding of these “assistant” positions, especially so high up in the food chain, is that they are political appointees and as such have been able to garner political and/or financial support for their candidate. Chances are, as comptroller, her signature might even have appeared on the paychecks, so there’s that. For anyone who wants to delve into these things, here is the chart, the “Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Financial Management and Comptroller)” is in the second row, third from the left.  I found the chart here (and here), in this book by the U.S. Office of the Federal Register so it’s probably even in the public domain.

So what else is in this little book? A list of Navy employees from 2011. Hmm shall we have a look?

Scanning for more names of women, I see that Gladys J. Commons is not Wikipedia’s most egregious case of neglect. That would be:

Exhibit B:  Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, former Assistant Secretary (Energy, Installations and Environment), who is dead.  Yup, she died in April.

From this profile, you can see she stepped down from the Navy in 2012. And her obit says she battled cancer for five years, so she must have left government service at that time, but it also looks like she had a position (see internet archive) with Haskell Point Advisors, an energy and infrastructure consulting firm. Her bio remained on that website until early in April, and is still in google cache. Archived here: Her navy bio isn’t any more up to date; it is here.  According to a very short note in the Sacramento Bee, her husband may be notable as well, Dan Richard, chair of the high-speed rail commission. At the very least they must have been a “power couple”.  And the longer Sacramento Bee obit fills in her career history after she left government service: “After leaving the Navy in 2013, she joined the board of directors of Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure and was named to the National Academies Board of Energy & Environmental Systems. In 2013, Ms. Pfannenstiel co-founded the San Francisco energy start-up firm, Advanced Microgrid Solutions.” And there is a lot of stuff about her “greening the fleet” efforts at the Navy, not to mention her economics background, in this interview.

For anyone who wants to go fishing, there is a navy bio list here:


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