Raymond J. Donovan

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Ray Donovan
17th United States Secretary of Labor
In office
February 4, 1981 – March 15, 1985
PresidentRonald Reagan
Preceded byRay Marshall
Succeeded byBill Brock
Personal details
Born (1930-08-31) August 31, 1930 (age 90)
Bayonne, New Jersey, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Catherine Sblendorio
EducationNotre Dame Seminary (BA)

Raymond James Donovan (born August 31, 1930) is an American businessman and former politician. He served as U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Reagan.


Donovan was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, on August 31, 1930. He attended the Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. He worked as a union laborer in summers and received a B.A. in philosophy. He married Catherine Sblendorio in 1957. They had three children: Kenneth, Mary Ellen, and Keith Donovan. Donovan worked for the American Insurance Company and Schiavone Construction Company, becoming the Vice President in charge of labor relations, finance, bonding and real estate in 1959, and by 1971 its Executive Vice President.[citation needed]

Reagan appointed Donovan the Secretary of Labor on February 4, 1981, and he served in this office until March 15, 1985. Under his secretaryship, he reduced the department's staff and budget, reduced regulations on businesses through changes in Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) enforcement practices, revised the Davis-Bacon rules, modified Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) rules, created new industrial home work rules, and revised the federal compliance regulations.[citation needed]

In a highly publicized case,[1] Donovan and six other defendants were indicted by a Bronx County, New York, grand jury for larceny and fraud in connection with a project to construct a new line extension for the New York City Subway, through a scheme involving a Genovese crime family associate and a minority-owned subcontractor.[2] Schiavone Construction was required by its contract with the NYCTA to subcontract part of the work to a minority-owned enterprise. The essence of the charge was that the minority owned firm (Jo-Pel Contracting and Trucking Corp) leased equipment from Schiavone and therefore was not truly independent of Schiavone.[3] On May 25, 1987, Donovan (and all of the other defendants) were acquitted, after which Donovan was famously quoted as asking, "Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?"[4] Donovan held 50% ownership in Schiavone Construction until its late 2007 sale to Spanish conglomerate, Grupo ACS. He is a part owner of the Fiddler's Elbow Country Club.[citation needed]


Donovan is critiqued on cutting OSHA, CETA and workers' benefits in the song "Ronald Reagan Had a Ranch" by Joe Glazer on the album "Jellybean Blues" (1982).[5]


  1. ^ Time, June 8, 1987
  2. ^ William K. Rashbaum, "Company With Big City Contracts Is Tied to Mob Schemes in Affidavit", The New York Times, July 2, 2008
  3. ^ Raab, Selwyn (26 May 1987). "Donovan Cleared Of Fraud Charges By Jury In Bronx". The New York Times.
  4. ^ The Natural, by Joe Klein
  5. ^ https://folkways-media.si.edu/liner_notes/collector/COLL01935.pdf

External links[edit]

Court filings
Political offices
Preceded by
Ray Marshall
U.S. Secretary of Labor
Served under: Ronald Reagan

Succeeded by
William E. Brock