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First Native American Program Coordinator

Tuesday, January 2, 2001
Contact: Lori Irving, (202) 366-0660
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Federal Highway Administration Names First Native American Program Coordinator

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced today that Timothy R. Penney has been selected for the new position of Native American program coordinator in the FHWA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Penney, a civil engineer and an enrolled tribal member of the Red Cliff band of Lake Superior Chippewa, began work in that position Dec. 18.

"Tim will continue our efforts to build more effective working relationships with Native American tribal governments and help provide increased opportunities for Native Americans to participate in transportation programs," U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater said. "Last year I signed an order directing that we work more closely with Native Americans, and this new position is one way of continuing that commitment."

The new position and Penney's appointment continue the Clinton-Gore Administration's efforts to work more closely with Native Americans. In November 1999 Secretary Slater signed an order enumerating 17 instructions for agencies of the U.S. Department of Transportation to implement in building more effective working relationships with Native American tribal governments and in enhancing opportunities for Native Americans to participate in transportation programs. That order also called for a designated office to facilitate implementation of the new policy.

The November 1999 DOT order implemented federal mandates, including a memorandum in which President Clinton directed all federal agencies to implement activities affecting Indian tribal rights or trust resources by consulting with tribes in a knowledgeable, sensitive manner respectful of tribal sovereignty.

More recently, in November 2000, President Clinton issued an executive order to establish regular and meaningful consultation and coordination with tribal officials in developing federal policies that have tribal implications, to strengthen the U.S. government-to-government relationships with Indian tribes, and to reduce the imposition of unfunded mandates on Indian tribes.

As the agency's first Native American program coordinator, Penney will be the agency's liaison between the FHWA, tribal governments and state Departments of Transportation, working with individuals and groups on transportation related tribal issues and legislation.

"We were looking for someone with strong leadership ability and a background in issues facing Native American tribes," said FHWA Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle. "In Tim Penney we have someone who will represent the interests of the Native American tribes, transportation and the Federal Highway Administration."

Penney has a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Oklahoma State University. His most recent position in the department was as technology facilitation engineer in the FHWA's Office of Safety Research and Development in McLean, Va. He has also been a civil rights program manager in California. Penney has been with FHWA for 12 years.

The FHWA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation with headquarters in Washington, D.C. It has 2,700 employees, a field office in every state, and an annual budget of more than $28 billion.


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To provide Feedback, Suggestions or Comments for this page contact Tim Penney at tim.penney@dot.gov.