Leader of White House effort to help automotive communities to step down

WASHINGTON (AP) — The leader of the White House's effort to help cities and communities deal with the decline of the U.S. auto industry is departing to return to academia.

Ed Montgomery, the executive director of the White House Council on Automotive Communities and Workers, will become the dean of Georgetown University's Public Policy Institute on Aug. 15.

The White House said in a statement Monday that White House economic adviser Larry Summers and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis will direct the work of the council in the interim. The administration plans to find a replacement for Montgomery.

Montgomery was appointed last year to coordinate the government's work to help auto workers transition into new manufacturing jobs. The White House created the council to help communities deal with government-led bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler. Montgomery's work included the development of an $800 million trust fund to pay for the cleanup of closed General Motors sites in 14 states.

President Barack Obama said in a statement that Montgomery had "crisscrossed the country in a tireless effort to cut through red tape and speed the economic recovery for those hit hardest by the auto industry's struggles. The results of his efforts have been felt in auto towns across America."

Montgomery was deputy secretary and chief operating officer at the Labor Department during the Clinton administration and served as dean of the University of Maryland's College of Behavioral and Social Sciences from 2003-2009.