Speculation Grows About Why FMCSA Boss is Leaving the Job
Washington D.C. – The Acting Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will be stepping down from his post at the end of this week, but questions surrounding the circumstances of his departure continue to swirl.
On Friday, August 14, a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) spokesperson first confirmed to Transportation Nation Network (TNN) that FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen was leaving his job at the end of the month.
Multiple trusted sources had previously alerted TNN to Mullen’s imminent departure before the USDOT agreed to release a statement confirming the news.
It is unclear how and when the USDOT planned to announce Mullen’s resignation.
Since confirming Mr. Mullen would soon be leaving the Agency, the FMCSA has not released any further information about the matter and Mr. Mullen has also yet to make a public statement.
Additionally, USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao has also been quiet about the Acting Administrator’s departure.
While the Agency did confirm Mr. Mullen would be replaced by Wiley Deck, who currently serves as Senior Policy Advisor to Sec. Chao, the FMCSA has declined so far to answer any further questions or provide any additional details.
The Agency’s silence has served to fuel speculation among trucking industry stakeholders.
Also raising questions is the fact that few trucking industry groups released customary statements of appreciation following the announcement of the Acting Administrator’s departure.
Multiple sources who do not wish to be named tell TNN that Mr. Mullen has previously indicated he never planned to serve in the Acting Administrator role for long after he was thrust into duty following the abrupt departure of former administrator Ray Martinez last October.
Some contend Mr. Mullen may be “overwhelmed” or simply “over” the job especially amid the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Others though, point to the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into freight brokers as a possible explanation for Mr. Mullen’s departure.
The Agency has received intense criticism for not doing more to enforce transparency rules, specifically, violations of 49 CFR 371.3 which requires brokers to keep records of each transaction and provide those records, upon request, to each party of the transaction including the motor carrier.
Perhaps Mr. Mullen wants to return to the private sector, where he previously served as executive vice president and general counsel for Werner Enterprises as well as operated his own consulting firm.
Moreover, he may wish to simply spend more time with his family without being under the microscope of leading a powerful governmental agency.
Stakeholders are hoping to learn more in the coming days and the Agency could soon release further details.
Mr. Mullen’s final day on the job is expected to be Friday, August 28.