- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Deputy Administrator Jim Mullen will leave the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to agency spokesperson Duane DeBruyne. Mullen was the acting administrator, and the Trump administration has not yet placed an administrator.
- Wiley Deck, a senior policy adviser to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and the former FMCSA director of government affairs, will assume the role of deputy administrator and, thus, acting administrator, of FMCSA, DeBruyne said.
- Mullen's departure will take place at the end of August. He has served as acting administrator since November 2019, when Administrator Ray Martinez left the agency.
The FMCSA is seeing change again, less than a year after Martinez left the post to run the DOT's John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Massachusetts.
But Mullen's departure comes as the FMCSA is hip-deep in managing the industry through the COVID-19 pandemic. The FMCSA was tasked with finalizing hours of service (HOS) rules, along with guiding the agency through the crisis. It issued emergency waivers on HOS for certain carriers, in effect until Sept. 14, barring another extension.
Deck was the chief of staff to former Republican U.S. Rep. John Mica of Florida. Mica lost his 2016 re-election bid, and Deck was soon hired by the FMCSA as director of governmental affairs. Mica was a conservative Republican who embraced deregulation and supported selling or leasing idle federal assets.
Mullen did not return Transport Dive's request for comment, nor did Deck.
"Through an extremely challenging time, he was a great partner for the trucking industry — willing to listen to and work with stakeholders from across the spectrum, even when making decisions we might not have completely agreed with," said Chris Spear, president of the American Trucking Associations.
Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association EVP Lewie Pugh applauded Mullen for his work on HOS.
"He was able to get the new hours-of-service rules across the finish line," said Pugh, in a statement reported by OOIDA's news site. "He had a willingness to listen and learn more about the trucking industry, and he handled impacts to trucking as a result of COVID-19 exceptionally well."