Scott Darling, chief counsel of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, will become acting administrator after the departure of Anne Ferro, who has held the position nearly five years.
Ferro released the news to colleagues in an e-mail Aug. 22, her last day as administrator before becoming president of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators on Aug. 25.
Ferro also said that deputy administrator Bill Bronrott will leave his job by the end of the year.
Darling, who holds one of four political appointee slots at the agency, was named chief counsel by President Obama in September 2012.
He came to FMCSA from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the public transit agency serving the greater Boston area, where he served as deputy chief of staff and assistant general counsel.
American Trucking Associations President Bill Graves said: “We congratulate Mr. Darling and look forward to working with him and his team going forward.”
Obama has not said if he will nominate Darling to be the permanent FMCSA head, which would require Senate confirmation.
“That’s obviously an option,” said Steve Keppler, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, which represents the state and local police agencies that enforce federal trucking laws.
“I don’t know what the plan is; is it to get through the election or what,” Keppler said. “It’s hard to tell.”
According to background information supplied by FMCSA, Darling had little or no experience in the trucking sector.
“But the reality is, he’s a smart guy and he’s been working with the agency for a couple of years, so he knows the players and he knows the programs and the issues now,” said Dave Osiecki, ATA executive vice president and chief of national advocacy.
“I think it’s a matter of sort of getting up to speed on the relationship side and starting to develop those,” Osiecki said of Darling, whom he described as “a quiet guy; he’s a guy that listens well, that seemingly wants to do a good job, wants to do the right thing.”
ATA’s interactions with Darling largely have been on the litigation side, Osiecki said.
“Of course, he’s the chief counsel, so, all of our litigation activity relative to hours of service we had some interaction with him and on a few other issues,” he added.
In her announcement, Ferro said: “I know that Scott will provide seamless leadership with integrity, intelligence and a commitment to engage our employees and stakeholders to meet our lifesaving mission.”
Darling is a 1984 graduate of Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. His FMCSA bio says he holds a bachelor of arts degree from Clark in government, a master’s degree in public policy from Tufts University and a law degree from Suffolk University.
Here's a video featuring Darling, produced by Clark University: