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franklin county times

Smith considered for federal job

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
Jan. 10, 2001
Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith is under consideration for a politically-appointed federal job in the new Bush administration, The Meridian Star has learned.
Smith, a member of Amtrak's board of directors and a transportation advocate, is being considered for the position of administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, as well as other possibilities.
Contacted by The Meridian Star this morning, Smith said he wasn't prepared to talk about any possible contact he may have had with members of Bush's transition team, who are working quickly to fill hundreds of positions as the new administration prepares to take office on Jan. 20.
The FRA administrator's position is a full-time, Washington, D.C.-based post and if he is offered and accepts it, Smith would be out of the running for another term as Meridian's mayor.
The FRA administrator position is an executive schedule appointment made by the President. Under the agency's current budget, the position pays $133,700, according to an FRA spokesperson.
Smith is a current member of the Amtrak Board of Directors and has played a major role in lobbying railroad legislation in Washington for several years.
The Federal Railroad Administration is an agency under the U.S. Department of Transportation. The agency's primary responsibility is to oversee safety of all rail freight and passenger services.
Carmichael, who served as FRA Administrator under President George H. Bush, said Smith was being pushed as an eventual candidate for the administrator's position when he served under President Bush.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.