Posts Tagged ‘Heath Hall’

Sturges Named Deputy FRA Administrator

April 20, 2018

Mathew Sturges has been appointed deputy administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration.

He previously served as majority staff director of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure where he directed legislative oversight and authorization efforts related to all modes of transportation.

Sturges also served as deputy director of government affairs for the Republican National Committee, as well as director of coalitions for the House Republican Conference.

His duties at the FRA will include serving as a member of the agency’s senior executive management team and working on safety regulatory activities, federal investments in freight and passenger rail, and legislative initiatives to advance the Trump administration’s priorities.

He replaces Heath Hall, who resigned last February.

Acting FRA Head Resigns Post

February 13, 2018

The acting administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration has resigned following allegations that he was moonlighting as a public relations consultant.

Heath Hall stepped down on Sunday from his position, which did not require Senate confirmation.

Hall was appointed acting FRA head after the Trump admistration’s pick for the permanent FRA chief post was held up in the Senate.

Trump has nominated  former Conrail executive Ron Batory, but Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Corey Booker of New Jersey have placed a hold on the nomination in an effort to use it to pressure the administration into releasing federal funding for the proposed Gateway rail tunnel project between New York and New Jersey.

Hall had been reported to have taken a leave of absence from the FRA, citing unidentified family issues, but reports have surfaced saying that twice Hall appeared in Mississippi as a spokesman for the Madison County sheriff.

Hall had said on a federal ethics form that his public relations work would remain dormant while he worked at DOT.

However, information has surfaced that Hall received compensation for public relations efforts between July and December last year.

“We were unaware of the information that is being reported but those allegations, if they are true, are troubling,” DOT spokeswoman Marianne McInerney said in a statement. “Heath Hall has resigned his position at the Department effective immediately.”

Railway Age reported that Batory has been working as an aide to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and is to offer his advice when when the FRA’s new interim acting administrator, General Counsel Juan D. Reyes III, testifies on positive train control implementation on Feb. 15 before the House Rail Subcommittee.

The magazine said that Trump could name Batory as deputy administrator, a post that does not need Senate confirmation but carries less prestige and offers less money

However, Batory would be able to oversee the FRA while awaiting Senate confirmation.

The Senate could also invoke cloture, which would override the hold that Schumer and Booker have on the nomination.

However, that usually requires 60 votes and Republicans cannot muster that within their own membership ranks. Under certain circumstances, cloture can be invoked with 51 votes.

A third option would be for Trump to name Batory as FRA head as a recess appointment in late February when Congress is away on break. That would make Batory head of the FRA through the end of 2019.

Reyes Named Acting FRA Administrator

January 30, 2018

Juan D. Reyes III has been named acting director of the Federal Railroad Administration after Deputy FRA Administrator Heath Hall was granted a leave of absence.

Hall, who has been serving as acting administrator, is facing what Politico magazine termed “a family situation that will leave him unable to discharge his duties as would be required on a day-to-day basis.”

The Trump administration has nominated Ron Batory to head the FRA, but his appointment is being held up in the Senate due to political wrangling.

Reyes is currently the FRA’s chief counsel. Batory is in the meantime serving the FRA as a senior adviser.

Ex-Conrail Head Named FRA Director

July 12, 2017

A former Conrail executive has been named by President Donald Trump to serve as administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration.

Ronald Batory

Ronald L. Batory has more than 45 years of railroad industry experience and until March 31 served as president and chief operating officer of Consolidated Rail Corporation.

Batory joined Conrail in 1998 as vice president-operations and was appointed COO in 2004.

Previously, he served as president of the Belt Railway of Chicago. His career includes more than 20 years working for eastern and western Class I railroads as well as assisting a court-appointed trustee’s oversight of a regional railroad bankruptcy.

His appointment is subject to Senate confirmation. The FRA is currently without a director although deputy administrator Heath Hall assumed his position on June 23.

Heath Hall Named to FRA Post

June 28, 2017

Heath Hall has been named deputy administrator of the Federal Railroad Administrator.

Hall, whose position does not need Senate confirmation, was named by Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, who has known him since his days working in the deputy DOT secretary’s office and in the Peace Corps.

Now a vice president in the marketing and external affairs department of non-profit Innovate Mississippi, Hall also manages Pointe Innovation magazine.

He has served as senior vice president of external affairs at the Mississippi Economic Council, the State Chamber of Commerce, and as executive director of Mississippians for Civil Justice Reform/STOP Lawsuit Abuse in Mississippi.

Hall also served as Gov. Kirk Fordice’s director of public affairs, deputy press secretary, and deputy director of communications for Fordice’s re-election campaign.

In federal government service, Hall served as an FRA intern in the public relations office before moving into the USDOT deputy secretary’s office.

During the administration of George H.W. Bush, Hall served as an intern in the White House Office of Political Affairs.

The FRA is still without a permanent administrator. Patrick T. Warren, the FRA’s executive director, is serving as acting administrator.

Railway Age magazine reported that an administrator is unlikely to be appointed before August and that the agency is without an official mandate from the Trump Administration.