Politico Pro Quotes Jim Burnley and Fred Wagner on the Value of Noncontroversial Leaders

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On December 3, 2020, Jim Burnley and Fred Wagner were quoted in Politico Pro’s Morning Transportation newsletter on the value of noncontroversial leaders.

According to the article, President-elect Joe Biden technically has the authority to remove Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Stephen Dickson from the position once he takes office, but the general consensus is that he will be kept at the helm. Dickson’s term officially goes until August 2024, and so far he’s been largely noncontroversial, despite taking over an FAA in the midst of crisis over the Boeing 737 MAX. “I think the general view on a bipartisan basis is that Mr. Dickson has done a stellar job and that his resume was the perfect resume for FAA administrator, so I don’t expect to see a change there,” Burnley said.

Wagner, who worked at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) during former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s tenure, said that LaHood attributed his success at DOT to not ruffling feathers. When LaHood left the agency, according to Wagner, he told staff: “I can’t thank you all enough for making this a successful tenure. ... You don’t realize how happy the president has been with us that we’ve not been the subject of trouble. We haven’t caused any bad headlines, we haven’t been in the news. It’s allowed him to focus on other complicated and major issues.’”