Martinez ends tenure as FMCSA leader

November 2019

Mark Schremmer

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The “most active, receptive and responsive” administrator in the history of the FMCSA is leaving his post after less than two years on the job.

FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez was set to leave the position at the end of October, the U.S. Department of Transportation confirmed on Oct. 10.

Martinez, who was sworn in to the position on Feb. 28, 2018, is leaving the job to oversee a DOT construction project at the Volpe Center in Massachusetts. According to the news release, the New Jersey native took the new role to be closer to home.

“We are grateful for Martinez’s service and glad that he will keep serving the department in this capacity, while also meeting his long-held wishes to be located closer to his family,” the news release said.

Jim Mullen, FMCSA’s chief counsel, will move to the deputy administrator role. Now in the No. 2 role in the agency, Mullen is expected to become FMCSA’s acting administrator after Martinez’s departure.

Alan Hanson, the agency’s current deputy administrator, will transition to the chief counsel position.

Wiley Deck, the director of government affairs for FMCSA, will leave his role to become the Department of Transportation Secretary Office’s senior policy adviser.

Since taking the job in February 2018, Martinez has been an extremely active administrator, attending such trucking events as the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, and the Guilty By Association Truck Show in Joplin, Mo. In November 2018, Martinez also met with the OOIDA Board of Directors in Grain Valley, Mo. There, he was able to talk with more than two dozen truckers who combined to have more than 800 years of trucking experience.

Martinez said he wanted to hear from truck drivers directly and vowed to remove burdensome regulations that didn’t enhance safety.

“Ray Martinez has been the most active, receptive and responsive FMCSA administrator since the agency’s inception,” OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer said. “He created a regulatory atmosphere that valued input from the men and women in the trucking industry above all else, and we hope that will continue after his departure.

“We will certainly miss his leadership and his willingness to listen and learn about issues that impact small-business truckers, but we wish him the best in his next endeavor. Certainly most truckers can identify with his desire to be closer to home.”

During Martinez’s time at FMCSA, the agency revised its guidance regarding personal conveyance and got the ball rolling toward hours-of-service reform.

In February 2018, OOIDA submitted a petition regarding hours-of-service reform to FMCSA. A few months later, FMCSA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking about hours of service. The agency hosted five public listening sessions on the topic and received more than 5,200 comments. In response to a majority of the comments asking for increased flexibility, the agency announced a notice of proposed rulemaking in August.

Martinez said the agency aimed to move quickly, and the comment period was set to end Oct. 21. Any eventual final rule regarding hours of service will come after Martinez’s tenure as FMCSA administrator is complete.

Before becoming administrator, Martinez served eight years as the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s chairman and chief administrator.

Mullen joined FMCSA as chief counsel in June 2018. Before that, he worked more than a decade as the executive vice president and general counsel for Werner Enterprises.

The FMCSA was established in 2000. There have been six administrators in the agency’s history. Previous administrators were Joseph Clapp, Annette Sandberg, John H. Hill, Anne Ferro, and Scott Darling. Julie Cirillo served as the agency’s leader when it was formed in 2000 but was never named the formal administrator. LL

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, associate editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.