WASHINGTON, D.C. -- National Transportation Safety Board Member Ellen Engleman Conners has asked President Bush to withdraw her nomination for a second term as Chairman of the NTSB. In a letter she sent the President today, Engleman Conners said that she intends to focus on continuing to serve as an aggressive advocate for safety in her role as a Member of the Safety Board.
"My decision to focus on my role as a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board is based in large part on the opportunity these last seven months have given me to serve without the additional demands of the chairmanship," she wrote. "The NTSB's role in safety advocacy is critical and I hope to aggressively pursue these responsibilities."
In her letter to the President, Engleman Conners highlighted her accomplishments as Chairman in cutting unnecessary expenditures during a time of limited budgets, expanding the availability of Board products such as web casting public meetings, and working to implement recommendations. Most importantly, she noted that the current number of unimplemented recommendations is under 800, the lowest number since 1975.
Engleman Conners became Member and Chairman of the NTSB on March 24, 2003. Her term as Member runs through 2007. Her two-year term as Chairman, which requires separate Senate confirmation, expired in late March of this year. In April, President Bush nominated her for a second term as Chairman.
Before coming to the NTSB, Member Engleman Conners was Administrator of the Research and Special Programs Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Member Engleman Conners' letter to President Bush can be found at the end of this release.
(Letter from Member Ellen Engleman Conners to President Bush)
December 7, 2005
President George W. Bush
The White House
Dear Mr. President:
You once again bestowed upon me the greatest honor when you asked me to serve a second time as Chairman of the National Transportation Board last April. Your guidance and your leadership have been a true example of the principled leader that I strive to be.
Mr. President, you have always inspired me to make the difficult choices, to govern with my heart and to serve with humility. And so, I sincerely request your consideration to withdraw my nomination to serve a second term as Chairman of the NTSB in order that I may focus on continuing to serve as an aggressive advocate for safety in my role as Member of the National Transportation Safety Board.
Under your leadership, during my term as Chairman, I focused on performance and results, seeking ways to leave the NTSB better than when I first arrived. I was able to initiate the implementation of the President's Management Agenda, including a long-term plan for critical skills required at the Board. I reduced unnecessary costs in order to invest in the heart and soul of the NTSB -- its people. I supported E-government initiatives including web cast of all Board meetings so that the people can see their government at work. And most importantly, I focused on implementing languishing safety recommendations so that the current number of unimplemented NTSB safety recommendations is under 800 -- the lowest number since 1975. These actions directly translate into lives saved.
My decision to focus on my role as a Member of the National Transportation Safety Board is based in large part on the opportunity these last seven months have given me to serve without the additional demands of the chairmanship. The NTSB's role in safety advocacy is critical and I hope to aggressively pursue these responsibilities.
Member Ellen Engleman Conners, who served two years as the agency's Chairman, announced this week that she intends to leave the Safety Board on May 31.
Chair Ellen Conners' term expired Sunday, and the acting chair has only two weeks left in office. The NTSB needs President Bush and the Senate to name a replacement.
He will delay his departure until a new chairman and an additional board member are confirmed.