CUSTOMS COMMISSIONER KELLY RESIGNS
U.S. Customs Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly has tendered his resignation to the agency.
“Over the past two years, I have had the privilege of serving as Commissioner of Customs. Today, I leave that post,” Kelly said in a “farewell” letter to the staff of the agency this morning.
The letter outlined his achievements during his tenure at the agency. Kelly’s quick action upon taking the helm at Customs is credited for saving the agency from harsh scrutiny by the Senate Finance Committee. He reformed Customs’ controversial personal search program. Kelly also streamlined the agency’s management and made it more accountable for its actions.
Most importantly to the industry, Kelly’s administration improved the development plans for Customs’ future umbrella system, the Automated Commercial Environment, to gain Congressional approval to fund the program this fiscal year.
Industry leaders have mixed reviews of Kelly’s success as commissioner, but they credit him for trying to understand their concerns and needs.
“He clearly came into the office with an enforcement perspective,” said Peter Friedmann, counsel to the Pacific Coast Council of Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Associations. “The brokers appreciate his efforts to reach out to the trade to improve Customs’ role in trade facilitation.”
“I think he’s done a fabulous job,” said Robin Lanier, chairman of the Coalition for Customs Automation Funding. “We’re sorry to see him go, but I’m sure we’ll be able to work with the next commissioner.”
Kelly steps down with the belief that he has set the agency on a better course for the future. “Customs will always face challenges,” he said to the staff. “But I’m confident that now, more than ever, you are better prepared for them.”
Charles Winwood, deputy commissioner of Customs, will assume overall management of the agency until a new commissioner is appointed.