The Association of American Railroads (AAR) and the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA), recommended Thomas Jayne, a senior general attorney with BNSF Railway, to President Donald Trump for nomination to serve as the industry representative on the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB).
Jayne, if confirmed, would replace Steven J. Anthony, whose term is expiring.
Jayne has been with BNSF since 2011 and prior to that worked with Thompson Coburn LLP in St. Louis, Mo., on transportation-related cases, among others.
“He enjoys the confidence and full support of the railroad employers who will be affected by his appointment,” AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger and ASLRRA’s Judy Petry said in their letter of recommendation to Trump.
The three-member RRB administers retirement and disability benefits for railroad workers and their families. The board is appointed by the president of the United States, with the advice and consent of the Senate. The president appoints one member upon the recommendation of railroad employers, another upon the recommendation of railroad labor organizations and the third, the chairman, to represent the public interest. The board members serve five-year terms.
WASHINGTON — Two Obama administration nominations of Republicans to key transportation regulatory positions — one to the National Mediation Board; the other to the Surface Transportation Board — were returned to the White House by the Senate this week without confirmation action and will have to be resubmitted to the Senate in the new Congress.
Republican Thomas M. Beck had been nominated by the president to the three-member NMB, for a term expiring Dec. 31, 2013; and Republican Ann D. Begeman had been nominated to the three-member Surface Transportation Board for a term expiring Dec. 31, 2015. Both agencies have Democratic majorities.
Under rules of the Senate, nominations not confirmed during the session during which they are made must be returned to the White House. The president may nominate them again in 2011, or choose new nominees. There is no indication Beck or Begeman will not be renominated or that the Senate would not confirm they if renominated.
Owing to a busy Senate calendar and the late timing of both nominations, neither was afforded a hearing before a Senate committee — Beck before the Health, Education & Labor Committee; Begeman before the Commerce Committee — an interim step prior to a Senate floor vote on confirmation.
Beck was nominated to succeed Republican Elizabeth Dougherty on the NMB. Dougherty’s term expired June 30, but under NMB rules she may continue serving indefinitely until a successor is confirmed. Since Oct. 2, Beck has been serving as a Senate-confirmed member of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). The FLRA administers labor-management relations for non-Postal Service federal employees.
Previously, Beck was a partner in the law firm of Jones Day, practicing labor and employment law. He is a 1992 graduate of the University of Virginia Law School. Beck also is a part-time professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., where he teaches courses on legislation and public policy.
The other two members of the NMB are Democrats — Chairman Harry Hoglander, who is serving his third term, and Linda Puchala, who was confirmed to her first term in May 2009
Begeman was nominated to succeed Republican Chip Nottingham on the STB. Nottingham’s term expires Dec. 31, but under STB rules he may continue serving until a successor is confirmed, but no later than Dec. 31, 2011. Begeman is a long-time aide to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and most recently has been an aide to the Senate Commerce Committee.
The other two members of the STB are Democrats — Chairman Dan Elliott, who is serving his first term; and Frank Mulvey, who is serving his second term.
The STB has regulatory authority over railroad mergers and labor protection for rail employees adversely affected by mergers, line sales and leases, and line abandonments. The agency also regulates railroad freight rates.