By on October 8, 2017

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Last week, we discussed how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had some staffing gaps that needed shoring up. While it remains shy one administrative head, the White House saw fit to officially appoint a new deputy administrator — effectively replacing acting deputy administrator Jack Danielson’s interim leadership.

Danielson has served as the NHTSA’s executive director since 2015, but spent the last eight months filling in for an absent department figurehead. He’s being relieved by Heidi King, an economist with the federal government and experience in the private-sector.

Hoping to gain some clarity about the decision to place a new deputy ahead of a chief administrator, Automotive News reached out to Jack Gillis, director of public affairs for the Consumer Federation of America. “It could be a sign that the Department of Transportation intends to run NHTSA from the secretary’s office rather than as a safety agency,” said Gillis.

Like other consumer groups, the Consumer Federation of America has been following the slow implementation of departmental heads in numerous regulatory agencies — worried that, without leadership, government mandates will stall.

According to her LinkedIn profile, King has been working at the NHTSA since September. However, the agency hasn’t updated its key staff pages in quite some time. It also didn’t officially announce a new deputy administrator.

King served as the global director of environment, health and safety risk for GE Capital until December. Perviously, she served as chief economist for the House Energy and Commerce Committee — which provides oversight of the NHTSA’s fuel economy and safety initiatives.

 

[Image: U.S. Department of Transportation]

 

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