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Hammerschmidt Takes Over NTSB... Kinda

When Marion Blakey left the NTSB to take over the FAA, that left Vice Chairman Carol Carmody in charge (by default).

However; with her term expiring this weekend, Ms. Carmody (a Democrat) was expected to hit the road. Instead of re-appointing Carmody to maintain her guardianship of the Board, President Bush has appointed John Hammerschmidt to become Vice Chairman of the NTSB... who then becomes acting Chairman (again by default) when Carmody leaves.

Ms. Carmody had given a heads-up to White House Chief of Staff Andy Card last Wednesday (the same day as the NC Beech 1900 commuter crash) to make sure that they understood that her departure would leave no one running the show at NTSB when her term ended, necessitating swift action. 

Hammerschmidt, who has already served two five-year terms as a board member (the last term ending just a few days ago, on Dec. 31)... gets to keep his job and gets quite a promotion, to boot. Board members are allowed to serve beyond their terms, when a replacement member has yet to be appointed.

Before a "permanent" Chairman can be named, the Senate must confirm the permanent appointment.

The NTSB Chairman holds some serious power in the transportation industry... especially in the event of a major accident. The NTSB Chairman allocates funding for investigations, coordinates with the Department of Justice when potential criminal activity is suspected, exercises subpoena power, and coordinates with International Safety Boards.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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