In a move to speed up the search for leadership at the new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-VA, offered to help rewrite the terms of the job.
The Department of Transportation is having a hard time finding anyone willing to go through the nomination process, because the job will be taken away in less than a year, when the new president takes office.
Wolf, in hearings before the House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, said he would help if DOT wants to change the job to a term appointment. That way, the safety agency administrator would hold the post for a set term, perhaps as long as five years, regardless of a change in administration.
The move might help DOT out of a bind. As Wolf pointed out, with each passing week it becomes more difficult to attract people to the leadership post.
DOT Inspector General Kenneth Mead said that some candidates have fallen through, and that he would be surprised to see the job filled this year.
Meanwhile, said Acting Assistant Administrator Julie Cirillo, FMCSA is forging ahead with its plans. She told Wolf that she now has clearance to fill the four senior administration posts in the agency, and expects to find the right people by mid-summer.
Cirillo said her goal is for FMCSA to set the performance benchmark for all federal agencies. She pointed to progress in a number of areas of enforcement - a 96% increase in the number of compliance reviews in the past nine months, for example - and claimed credit for a recent drop in the number of deaths in truck-related accidents.
But the agency still is the target of criticism. Tomorrow: DOT Inspector General and General Accounting Office spell out their concerns.