BELTWAY BANTER with ART LIBERTUCCI Interview between Arthur Libertucci & Robert Lehrman
elow is an email interview between Arthur Libertucci and Robert PROVIDED BY ART LIBERTUCCI Lehrman. Art was the top person at TTB from the founding of the agency in 2003 until his retirement from government service. He has more than 40 years of experience in the alcohol, tobacco and firearms industries. Art began his government career with the U.S. Department of Treasury, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) as a field inspector in New York in 1970. He worked in many jobs at ATF and then TTB through 2005. He retired as the first Administrator of the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Art is currently a Senior Consultant with Buckles Consulting Group, LLC. Art holds a BA from Providence College (1969) and an MBA from Monmouth University (1984). He currently resides in the Washington, D.C. metro area.
What was your last job with TTB? I was the Administrator for TTB. In 2003, when TTB was established as a separate Treasury Bureau and “spun off” from ATF, I was chosen as its first Administrator. At the time, I was responsible for doing all the things needed to set up a new government agency, not dissimilar to starting up a new company. We started from scratch, having to set up offices, hire people and set up systems and infrastructure to support the proper regulation of the alcohol and tobacco industries and the collection of taxes. At startup, TTB had about 600 employees and an annual budget of about $80 million.
What was your first government job? I started my government career as an Inspector for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division of the IRS. At that time, neither ATF nor TTB existed as separate bureaus. The regulation of alcohol and tobacco products and their taxation were the responsibility of the IRS. I applied for the job after a friend told me about how he was taking an exam for jobs in the federal government. I had been drafted back then in 1969 (I was a draft lottery pick) and that day I was sent home after reporting for duty, having failed my physical exam. My friend told me he was taking the job exam that Saturday and I should go with him and take the test. At that time, taking the test was done at the post office and on a walk-in basis. I took the test and received scores a month later. I received my first job offer from ATF to become an Inspector. I interviewed for the job, was offered a position in Boston, but it was later rescinded due to a sudden federal job freeze. A week later I was called and asked if I would consider the same position in New York City, where they had been given a job freeze exemption. I took the offer and started my career on March 17th, 1970 in New York.
“I started my government
career as an Inspector for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Division of the IRS.”
Any good recollections from first year, last year, middle? During my first year in New York City I could see the construction of the World Trade Center. It was perhaps half done at the time (1970). Our offices were about three blocks away, at 120 Church Street. The new World Trade Center was an awesome sight. In the late 1970s, I think it was 1978, I had an office nearby (I was the Supervisor of the New York Office of Inspectors), and I watched one day as a man climbed the side of the World Trade Center with suction cups. He made it to the top and became famous. The middle of my career was started with coming to ATF Headquarters as the head of what is now the Regulations and Rulings Division. Shortly after that we implemented the rules on the government warning statement that appears on all alcohol beverage labels today. After being promoted to Associate Director for Compliance Operations, I was asked to become the ATF CFO and agreed. I was CFO for four-plus years and after that became Associate Director for Compliance for about a year. ⟶ WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM
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