For the first time since April 2014, the National Transportation Safety Board will soon have a full complement of Board members. On July 24, 2018, the U.S. Senate confirmed the President’s nominations of Bruce Landsberg and Jennifer Homendy to serve as Board members. This is particularly welcome news because since January 31 of this year when former chairman and Board member Christopher Hart departed the agency, the NTSB has been operating with only three Board Members — the minimum number of members needed to meet the statutory requirement for a quorum to conduct official agency business.
Under the statute that addresses the appointment and terms of NTSB Board members, 49 U.S.C. § 1111, the Board is composed of five members appointed by the President, by and with the consent of the U.S. Senate. The statute specifies that the term of office of each member is five years; however, “an individual appointed to fill a vacancy occurring before the expiration of the term for which the predecessor of that individual was appointed, is appointed for the remainder of that term.”
The President nominated Mr. Landsberg on September 29, 2017, for the remainder of former Member Hart’s unexpired term ending on December 22, 2022. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held its confirmation hearing for nominee Landsberg on October 31, 2017, and vetted his nomination on November 8, 2017 — more than eight months prior to the full Senate’s recent action. He is well known in the aviation safety community and most recently served as Executive Director/President of the AOPA Foundation and Air Safety Institute (1992-2014) and Senior Safety Advisor for the AOPA Air Safety Institute (2014-2015). Also, from 2001 to 2015, he was Industry Chair of the FAA―General Aviation Joint Steering Committee.
The President nominated Ms. Homendy on April 12, 2018, for the remainder of former member Mark Rosekind’s unexpired term ending on December 31, 2019. The Senate Commerce Committee held its confirmation hearing for nominee Homendy on May 16, 2018, and vetted her nomination six days later — May 22, 2018. From 2004 to the present, she has served as the Democratic staff director of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. House of Representatives. From 1999 to 2004, she served as a legislative representative for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. It is rare — if not unprecedented — for the appointment of a Board member with expertise in either the railroad or pipeline industries.