The Federal Maritime Commission Newsroom


FMC Announces Organizational Realignment, issued August 19, 2004

August 19, 2004

Federal Maritime Commission
Washington, D.C. 20573 

NR 04-12


CONTACT : BRYANT L. VANBRAKLE (202) 523-5725; E-mail:




            Federal Maritime Commission Chairman, Steven R. Blust, announced today that the Commission will implement a realignment of the agency effective August 23, 2004. Chairman Blust noted that the new organizational structure neither creates any new programs or additional staffing requirements, nor eliminates any Commission projects, activities, or positions. Rather, the planned restructuring seeks to reallocate the Commission's existing resources to maximize the effectiveness of the staff and facilitate agency efforts to better serve the ocean transportation industry.


            The current Office of the Executive Director, which consists of an Executive Director and a Deputy, with oversight over the three program bureaus and four administrative offices, will be separated into two offices. Dr. Austin Schmitt will head the Office of Operations with oversight of the three program bureaus: the Bureau of Certification and Licensing (formerly the Bureau of Consumer Complaints and Licensing); the Bureau of Enforcement; and the Bureau of Trade Analysis. In addition, to better carry out the Commission's compliance and outreach initiatives, the Area Representatives (currently assigned to the Bureau of Enforcement) will report directly to the Director of Operations. Mr. Bruce Dombrowski will head the Office of Administration with oversight over the four administrative offices: the Office of Budget and Financial Management; the Office of Human Resources; the Office of Information Technology; and the Office of Management Services.


            In addition, because of the rapid growth of the Commission's consumer complaints program, the Commission is realigning the program's resources. The complaints program and the Alternative Dispute Resolution function (currently located within the Bureau of Consumer Complaints and Licensing) will be renamed the Office of Consumer Affairs and Dispute Resolution Services and will be transferred to the Office of the Secretary. Ronald Murphy, Esq., will be the Director of this realigned unit. The Bureau of Certification and Licensing will continue to be headed by Ms. Sandra Kusumoto and be responsible for passenger vessel certifications, and licensing and financial responsibility requirements of entities regulated by the Commission.


            This restructuring is the culmination of a several-month effort during which the Commission's work processes and practices were reviewed in light of changes in the industry to determine how the agency could best perform its duties. Chairman Blust thanked his fellow Commissioners for their guidance during the plan's development. He also acknowledged the contributions and efforts of the agency's senior executives throughout the planning process. Chairman Blust stated, "I am very confident that our revised organizational setup will serve our stakeholders more efficiently and responsively. Not only will it provide an effective regulatory structure suitable for today's shipping industry, it will also allow us the flexibility necessary to grow and change as the industry continues to evolve."