Public Papers - 1991
Letter Accepting the Resignation of Samuel K. Skinner as Secretary of Transportation
I regret that the Department of Transportation will no longer have the benefit of your dynamic leadership, but I am delighted that you have agreed to continue to serve in my Administration as Chief of Staff.
Your hard work as Secretary of Transportation has produced a long list of remarkable accomplishments. You developed a comprehensive statement of National Transportation Policy, which set the Department's priorities and strategies for years to come. You took vigorous steps to ensure that America's commercial aviation system will remain safe and competitive. You shepherded landmark aviation and surface transportation legislation through the halls of Congress. You persuaded the legislature to act swiftly to end the April 1991 national railroad strike -- a strike which, had it persisted, might have brought the Nation's economy to a virtual standstill. And you masterfully managed every crisis that came your way: the Eastern Airlines strike; the mammoth oil spill in Prince William Sound; Hurricane Hugo; the Loma Prieta earthquake in California; and the transportation requirements of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
These marvelous accomplishments are, however, only part of your legacy. Your well-known personal commitment to the 106,000 employees of the Department of Transportation has improved the morale and efficiency of its dedicated work force. Years after you have left the Department, that commitment will continue to pay dividends.
Barbara and I deeply appreciate all you have done for my Administration and look forward to having you at our side in the months and years to come.
Dear Mr. President:
I respectfully submit my resignation as Secretary of Transportation, effective December 16, 1991. It has been a great honor to serve in your Cabinet, and I look forward to working even more closely with you as your Chief of Staff.
These have been challenging times at the Department of Transportation, and the Department has accomplished a great deal under your leadership. During our first year we developed your statement of National Transportation Policy, which emphasized increased investment in transportation infrastructure and greater reliance on market principles. In the second year we passed the most comprehensive aviation legislation since the deregulation of the airline industry. In our third year we successfully guided through Congress landmark surface transportation legislation -- legislation that will restructure the Nation's Federal surface transportation programs for the post-Interstate era and improve America's productivity and competitiveness well into the 21st century.
At the same time, the Department has, at your request, successfully responded to several unforeseen challenges. We put in place measures to improve the security of civil aviation in the wake of the tragic bombing of Pan American flight 103. When Eastern Airlines' employees went on strike, we sought to minimize the impact on the traveling public and to ensure that safety was not adversely affected. We managed the massive cleanup of the oil spill in Prince William Sound. We provided emergency assistance and began the process of rebuilding after Hurricane Hugo and the Loma Prieta earthquake. We successfully marshalled the resources of the aviation and maritime sectors in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. And we worked with Congress to pass legislation ending a national railroad strike just 18 hours after it commenced.
I will be forever grateful that you asked me to lead the dedicated men and women of the Department of Transportation through one of the most demanding periods in its history. Your firm commitment to our Nation's transportation system made all our successes possible.
Mr. President, it has been an honor and a privilege to serve you.
Samuel K. Skinner
Note: These letters were made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on December 16 but were not issued as White House press releases.