June 16, 2014 4:00 AM, EDT

Letter: OOIDA's Hazy Logic

This Letter to the Editor appears in the June 16 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.

I don’t know what Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association leadership was smoking when it called for the dismissal of FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, but I hope they were in the states of Washington or Colorado.

In my more than 40 years of trucking industry work in Washington, I have dealt with every Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration/Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety administrator since “Bow Tie” Bob Kaye and none has been more open or accessible than Anne Ferro.

Of course, I have not agreed with all of her actions or statements, but she would not be doing her job if I had. She is an administrator of a key safety agency in perhaps the most anti-business, pro-regulation administration in history. Her willingness to talk to and cooperate with the industry she is charged with regulating has hardly won her favor with the anti-trucking activists who have had such access to the highest reaches of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

It is doubtful that any FMCSA administrator has had to deal with the amount of legislatively mandated garbage that has come out of the dysfunctional Congress recently. I do credit her with attracting the best top staff of any administrator I have known. I would love to see FMCSA use its resources in more productive safety ways — so, I suspect, would Ferro.

I do understand the need for membership organizations like OOIDA to throw some raw meat to their members now and then, and I certainly did it myself. I suspect that is what OOIDA is doing here.

Let’s imagine that OOIDA gets its way and this most ideological of all administrations picks her replacement. OOIDA might want to dust off its comments on the appointment of Joan Claybrook or one of her clones as FMCSA administrator for the last three years of President Obama’s term.

John Conley

Chester, Maryland

Editor’s Note: Conley is a past president of National Tank Truck Carriers and retired in 2013.