Scott Darling Named New FMCSA Administrator
On August 6th, President Obama officially nominated Scott Darling to be the administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Darling is also chief counsel for the FMCSA. Since Anne Ferro left as the FMCSA head last August, Darling has been working as acting administrator, but due to laws, a person is only allowed to hold that title for a certain period of time. Darling’s official tenure as the acting administrator ended this past March.
On the day it ended, Darling was asked by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to continue handling the administrator duties as he normally would. A statement released by the Department of Transportation (DOT) explained, “Thus, consistent with the Vacancies Act, he will continue to perform the duties of the administrator but will no longer be referred to as the acting administrator.”
Now, after 4 months in that “position” and a year total, Darling was officially given the nomination by the President. Before Darling can take over the head of the agency title, Obama’s nomination must be confirmed in the Senate, who is getting close to their August recess. The vote for Darling may not take place until Congress gets back to work this September.
Many think that because Darling has already been working in the position for a year and he still remains popular in the transportation sector, that he will have an easier time working with the agency and its counterparts than past administrator Ferro did. Also, Capitol Hill knows him, and that’s sure to help him in his path. He will work with the very same senators that he has giving testimony to while he was both acting and delegated administrator as well as chief counsel. Having his face and voice already well known could help speed along the process of confirmation as well as put him in a good position for future dealings.
Those in the transportation business have also noticed that the FMCSA as a whole seems to working better with the industry it governs with Darling in charge. Quite a few in the trucking world have noted that the controversial and aggressive tone that the role of administrator sometimes takes has been lessened with Darling at the helm. Last fall at a JOC conference,” C. Randal Mullett, vice president of government relations and public affairs for Con-way said, “Darling comes in with a clean slate, without the animosity that existed with Ferro. That stops some of the rhetoric that gets in the way of action.”
Quickly after his public nomination, numerous organizations and agencies in the industry released welcoming statements and congratulations. Jim Johnston, president and CEO of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, was one of them. “We look forward to continuing to work with Administrator Scott Darling,”, he said in a statement. “We have found him to be open and receptive to input from the association, and he appears to appreciate the role of professional truckers.”
Many of the regulations and plans that Ferro began are still active and Darling is likely to get some resistance from the trucking sector because of it, especially concerning the long list of proposals and plans he has been working on for the past year that involve the shipping and trucking industries. He plans to maintain the FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, and Accountability program as is, which the truck driving industry in particular does not agree with, as well as the
new hours-of-service regulations which have faced so much heat from truckers in the past couple of years.
When the nomination was made, Foxx released this statement: “Through strong and effective management as chief counsel and acting administrator of FMCSA, Scott has already demonstrated his ability to lead the agency. He is committed to making our roads safer for motorists, passengers and professional truck and bus drivers, and is constantly working with all sides to find solutions to challenges facing the industry and the motoring public. As Administrator, FMCSA will continue to benefit from his years of leadership and experience working in the transportation sector. I look forward to our continued work together.”