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Federal Highway Administration > Publications > Public Roads > Vol. 62· No. 5 > Making It Happen: Implementing the FHWA Restructuring Plan

March/April 1999
Vol. 62· No. 5

Making It Happen: Implementing the FHWA Restructuring Plan

by Julie Anna Cirillo

"Making What's Good Even Better" in the last issue of Public Roads explored the underlying reasons for the restructuring of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and outlined the design of the restructured agency. This article describes the progress on implementing both the field and headquarters restructuring plans.

Restructuring began on May 13, 1998, with the delegation of virtually all program responsibility previously assigned to the nine regional offices to the 52 division offices (one in each state, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia). In June 1998, the Phase II Restructuring Task Force developed the final design for the four resource centers created to support the divisions, and on July 30, 1998, the selection of Baltimore, Atlanta, Olympia Fields (Chicago), and San Francisco as the locations of the resource centers was announced.

Effective Oct. 1, 1998, the employees of the regional offices that were eliminated, became "virtual" members of the resource centers. That is, many of the staff of the new resource centers are not yet physically located at a resource center site, but all are connected electronically and functioning in their new roles.

Table 1 — Employee Surveys — Lateral Reassignment

Total Number of Surveys Received as of COB 10/30: 395

  • From former regional office employees: 304*
  • From division office employees: 45
  • From headquarters employees: 46

*Represents 98.4 percent of employees from whom a response was expected.

Field Implementation
It was critical to staff the resource centers with technical experts and to expand the capacity of the divisions to permit them to carry out their expanded program responsibilities in a timely fashion. To that end, descriptions of positions were circulated to all employees in September 1998. In October 1998, all employees of the former regions were surveyed to give them the opportunity to express an interest in a lateral reassignment to a newly created position at a resource center or to a vacant position at a division office or at FHWA headquarters. Headquarters and division employees were also able to express an interest in lateral reassignments to the resource centers. In total, more than 300 positions needed to be filled.

Table 2 - Status of Lateral Reassignments

Position Category No. of Positions Announced No. of Positions Filled
Eastern RC 46 32
    Enforcement 4 3
    Legal 7 4
Southern RC 46 30
    Enforcement 4 5
    Legal 6 4
Midwestern RC 46* 32*
    Enforcement 6 4
    Legal 4 4
Western RC 49 35
    Enforcement 4 4
    Legal 10 6
NHTSA Safety 10 8**
Liason Positions
*   Includes RETREP positions in Denver and Kansas City.
** Recent selection under merit promotion raises total to nine filled.

"The objective of the 'National Plan for Lateral Reassignments' was to position our expertise where it could best serve our partners and customers and, at the same time and to the extent possible, accommodate the wishes of employees," stated Tony Kane, FHWA executive director. "I was extremely pleased with the response from employees and managers. More than 350 employees responded to the survey and made themselves available for lateral reassignments to resource center, division office, or headquarters positions. In almost all cases, we were able to make selections which served both the interests of the agency and the stated preferences of employees."

FHWA's deputy administrator, Gloria Jeff, was also pleased by the response.

"It was especially noteworthy that many headquarters and division employees expressed interest in resource center positions," Jeff said. AIn the area of pavements alone, six highly qualified headquarters employees noted their interest in technical positions in the resource centers. All six were selected. This clearly demonstrates employee commitment to our expanded role in providing technical expertise and best practices to the divisions and to our state and local partners."

"In the first phase of the plan, 231 resource center and division positions were filled. Enforcement, legal, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety liaison positions were also filled during this phase, which concluded on Dec. 14; these positions are co-located with the resource centers. (See table 2.)

Table 2 — Status of Lateral Reassignments

Phase II of the field implementation began on Dec. 18 and ended on Jan. 8. In this phase, headquarters employees who previously had not been able to express an interest in division positions were given an opportunity to do so, and 54 headquarters employees responded to the solicitation for lateral reassignment to positions in the divisions.

Headquarters Implementation
In January, all headquarters employees were reassigned to one of the five core business units (CBUs) or eight cross-cutting service business units (SBUs) in the new matrix structure. In most cases, employees were reassigned in a "block." For example, employees in the Bridge Division of the Office of Program Development were reassigned to the Infrastructure CBU. However, in some instances, functions were divided among several of the new CBUs or SBUs based on agency need.

In addition to the staff reassignments, a number of Senior Executive Service (SES) staff were reassigned.

"The headquarters reorganization presented a unique opportunity for us to provide new assignments and challenges for headquarters staff. It was gratifying to observe the enthusiasm with which the SES leadership in the agency embraced their new assignments. I am convinced that both individuals and FHWA will benefit from this action," said Kane. (See table 3.)

Table 3 — Headquarters Leadership Assignments

CBU — INFRASTRUCTURE Vince Schimmoller
Office of Program Administration Henry H. Rentz
Office of Bridge Technology David Densmore
Office of Pavement Technology Vince Schimmoller, acting
Office of Asset Management Madeleine S. Bloom
CBU— PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT Cindy Burbank
Office of Intermodal and Statewide Programs Jill L. Hochman
Office of Metropolitan Planning and Programs George E. Schoener
Office of Human Environment Cindy Burbank, acting
Office of the Natural Environment James M. Shrouds
Office of NEPA Facilitation Fred Skaer, acting
Office of Real Estate Services Susan Lauffer
CBU — OPERATIONS Christine M. Johnson
Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office Jeffrey Paniati, acting
Office of Operations Technical Services C. John MacGowan, acting
Office of Transportation Operations Donald P. Steinke
Office of Travel Management Christine M. Johnson, acting
Office of Freight Management and Operations Gary E. Maring
CBU — MOTOR CARRIER AND HIGHWAY SAFETY Julie Anna Cirillo
Office of Motor Carrier Research and Standards Paul L. Brennan
Office of Highway Safety and Infrastructure Dwight A. Horne
Office of National and International Safety Programs Phyllis Young
Office of Motor Carrier Enforcement Clinton O. Magby II
Office of Data Analysis and Information Systems John F. Grimm
Office of Planning and Customer Liaison Julie Anna Cirillo, acting
Office of Technology Evaluation and Deployment Stephen P. Crane, acting
Office of Program Evaluation Julie Anna Cirillo, acting
CBU— FEDERAL LANDS HIGHWAY Arthur Hamilton
Office of Program Development Butch Wlaschin
Eastern Federal Lands Division Gary L. Kleindinst
Central Federal Lands Division Larry C. Smith
Western Federal Lands Division Carol Jacoby
SBU — ADMINISTRATION George Moore
Office of Human Resources Jerry A. Hawkins
Office of Budget and Finance Frederick G. Wright
Office of Information and Management Services Michael J. Vecchietti
Office of Acquisition George Moore, acting
SBU - RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT, AND TECHNOLOGY Dennis C. Judycki
Office of Program Development and Evaluation Michael Halladay, acting
Office of Research and Technology Services Michael Halladay, acting
Office of Infrastructure RD&T T. Paul Teng
Office of Safety RD&T Michael Trentacoste
Office of Operations RD&T Michael Trentacoste, acting
Office of Resource Management Paula Ewen
SBU - POLICY Walter L. Sutton
Office of Transportation Policy Studies Sherri Y. Alston
Office of Legislation and Strategic Planning Susan Binder
Office of Highway Policy Information Barna Juhasz
Office of International Programs King W. Gee
SBU - CORPORATE MANAGEMENT Fred J. Hempel
SBU - PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Joseph Toole
National Highway Institute Moges Ayele
SBU - CIVIL RIGHTS Edward W. Morris Jr.
SBU - CHIEF COUNSEL Karen Skelton
Deputy Chief Counsel Edward V.A. Kussy
SBU - PUBLIC AFFAIRS Gail R. Shibley

At the end of January, the reassignment of some headquarters employees to the field, combined with a small number of new headquarters positions created by restructuring, provided an opportunity for all FHWA employees to consider reassignment. After all lateral reassignments were completed, all remaining vacant positions in headquarters, resource centers, and the divisions were advertised through the merit promotion process.

"The physical movement of individuals is in process, and most permanent change-of-station moves are expected in fiscal year 1999," said George Moore, director of the Office of Administration.

"It is important for everyone in the agency, as well as our partners and customers, to remember that FHWA has not gained or lost FTE [full-time-equivalent positions]. What we have done is fundamentally change the manner in which we do business, restructured our organization to reflect what our role will be in the first quarter of the 21st century, and redistributed our FTE accordingly," said Federal Highway Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle. "We are restructuring to enable us to better meet the goals of our strategic plan, which, in turn, will allow us to create the best transportation system in the world for the American public."

Julie Anna Cirillo is the program manager, Office of Motor Carrier and Highway Safety, FHWA. Before her appointment as program manager, she was the change manager for FHWA restructuring. She has held a variety of technical and management and positions within the FHWA offices of Research and Development and of Highway Safety. She has been an active participant in numerous Transportation Research Board activities in her 30-year FHWA career. Most recently, she served as regional administrator of the former Region Nine in San Francisco, Calif. Ms. Cirillo received her bachelor's degree in mathematics from Trinity College and her degree in Engineering from Catholic University.

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