The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) has named Arturo Cardenas as the agency’s Director of Programs.
In that position, Mr. Cardenas will oversee all operations to process and pay benefits administered by the agency. He will also serve on the RRB’s Executive Committee, which is responsible for day-to-day operations of the agency and making policy recommendations to the three-member Board.
A career public servant, Mr. Cardenas worked at the Social Security Administration (SSA) for more than 30 years before joining the RRB. During that time, he worked in a variety of positions in SSA field offices, regional offices and headquarters units.
He started as a claims representative, and subsequently worked as a disability examiner working on railroad disability cases for the Great Lakes Processing Center in Chicago. He also worked in the Chicago Regional Office as a Policy Expert, Disability Program Administrator, and Director of the Center for Disability and Programs Support.
At the time of his RRB appointment, Mr. Cardenas was the Deputy Commissioner for the Office of Quality Review, responsible for 1,000 employees at SSA’s headquarters in Woodlawn, Maryland, along with 10 regional sites and four satellite offices. His duties included assessing the accuracy and consistency of work performed by agency employees through various studies and reviews. His team also conducted customer engagement surveys to obtain feedback on agency services, as well as to gain a better understanding of the needs of current and future SSA customers.
In addition, Mr. Cardenas participated in SSA’s Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program. His first assignment in that program was as the Senior Technical Advisor for SSA’s IT Modernization initiative. He subsequently completed two other six-month assignments as Assistant Regional Commissioner at the Western Program Service Center in Richmond, California, and Deputy Regional Commissioner for the Chicago Region, overseeing over 220 field offices and four teleservice centers.
As part of the candidate development program, Mr. Cardenas also completed the Senior Executive Fellows Program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, as well as courses through Georgetown University’s Government Affairs Institute, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Center for Leadership Development, and the American Management Association.
A Chicago native and lifelong resident of the metropolitan area, Mr. Cardenas graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He is married with two adult sons.
His appointment was effective August 30. He replaces Crystal Coleman, who retired in April 2021 after 29 years of Federal service.
# # #
An independent Federal agency headquartered in Chicago, the RRB pays about $13.3 billion a year in benefits under the Federal Railroad Retirement and Railroad Unemployment Insurance Acts covering the nation’s railroad workers and their families.