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Last week, Amtrak appointed Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Boardman to a one-year term as president and chief executive officer to succeed Alex Kummant, who resigned. Senior Vice President of Operations William Crosbie — who briefly served as interim president — will continue to focus on day-to-day operations, while Boardman concentrates on Amtrak's future direction.
"Amtrak is at a critical juncture and needs a vigorous management vision and ability to take advantage of this unique time," said Amtrak Chairman Donna McLean in a press release announcing Boardman's appointment.
However, leaders of 12 Amtrak labor unions believe the interim appointment was an attempt by the Amtrak board to deter the incoming Obama Administration from determining the railroad's direction. The unions had requested that Amtrak install Crosbie as acting CEO until the Obama Administration selected a new transportation secretary and appointed its own Amtrak board members.
"It is unfortunate that the current board of directors would not wait to give President Obama the first opportunity to shape Amtrak's future," union leaders said in a joint statement. "Instead, the board rushed to put its stamp on Amtrak's future, first by encouraging the resignation of Alex Kummant ... and then installing the person who represented the Bush Administration on the board as interim president and CEO."
The statement was signed by leaders of the American Train Dispatchers Association; Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division; Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen; Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers; International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; National Conference of Firemen and Oilers; Sheet Metal Workers International Association; Transport Workers Union of America; Transportation Communications International Union; and UNITE HERE.