Martinez serves final day as FMCSA administrator
October 28, 2019
Ray Martinez’s tenure as administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officially ended on Monday, Oct. 28. Jim Mullen now takes over as the agency’s acting administrator.
It came as a surprise on Oct. 10 when it was announced that Martinez, who took the administrator position in February 2018, would be leaving to oversee a Department of Transportation construction project at the Volpe Center in Massachusetts.
“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,” a DOT news release said.
While on the job for only a year-and-a-half, many credited Martinez for his willingness to listen to truck drivers and for working toward hours-of-service reform.
“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.”
Martinez’s tenure will likely be remembered most for his push toward changing the hours-of-service regulations.
In response to an OOIDA petition in February 2018, FMCSA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding possible changes to the hours of service. After receiving more than 5,200 comments from industry stakeholders, the agency moved toward rules aimed at providing more flexibility to truck drivers.
This past August, FMCSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking with five main changes to the hours of service. The comment period ended Oct. 21, and a final rule could come as soon as 2020.
At the same time Martinez’s departure was announced, Mullen was moved from FMCSA’s chief counsel to deputy administrator. In the new role, Mullen will service as the agency’s acting administrator until a permanent replacement is announced.
“Administrator Martinez has done some great things at FMCSA, so Mr. Mullen has some big shoes to fill. As long as he’s willing to listen to and learn from truckers, we’ll do everything we can to guide him in areas where improved safety and efficiency can be gained,” Spencer said. “We look forward to meeting with him in the near future to make sure he’s up to speed on issues important to our members.”
Mullen joined FMCSA as chief counsel in June 2018. Before that, he served for more than a decade as the executive vice president and general counsel for Werner Enterprises.
Alan Hanson, who had served as FMCSA’s deputy administrator, will take over the chief counsel role.
Wiley Deck, who was the director of government affairs for FMCSA, will serve as the DOT Secretary Office’s senior policy adviser.
Since the FMCSA was established in 2000, there have been six permanent administrators. Before Martinez, the administrators were Scott Darling, Anne Ferro, John H. Hill, Annette Sandberg, and Joseph Clapp.