Labor Department Changes Coming Soon

The U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee is expected to hold a vote to confirm Patrick Pizzella as deputy secretary for the Department of Labor on Aug. 2. Pizzella is acting chairman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority and previously worked in Labor Department under President George W. Bush and has decades of federal agency experience.

As the aggregates industry continues to wait for the Trump administration to nominate an assistant secretary to head MSHA, the agency announced that attorney Emily Hargrove will succeed the retiring Marv Lichtenfels as acting administrator for metal/non-metal (MNM). Hargrove has been serving as special assistant to the deputy assistant secretary and previously worked in the MSHA solicitor’s office, which is responsible for MSHA’s legal activities. Lichtenfels announced his retirement little more than a year after taking the helm of the division. The MNM administrator has traditionally been a career civil service position and is not subject to changes in the White House.

“Serious and impactful policies left over from the Obama administration are continuing to make their way through MSHA, such as the workplace exams and pattern of violations rules. Changes in leadership can make it more difficult for the agency to understand the unintended consequences of these and other regulations,” said Joseph Casper, NSSGA’s vice president of safety policy. “Regardless, we look forward to demonstrating our industry’s commitment to safety and compliance to the agency’s new leader.”