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Changing of the guard at MTA

After an intensive search for a chairman/CEO to replace the departing Jay Walder, Governor Cuomo’s selection committee chose a candidate who is an experienced executive with first hand knowledge of New York City, Joseph Lhota.  Lhota served as the NYC deputy mayor for operations under Mayor Rudy Giuliani and currently is an executive vice-president for the Madison Square Garden Company.  He is also a native son — born in the Bronx, raised on Long Island and resident of Brooklyn.  His lineage is heavy with NYC service as well — his father a NYC policeman, his grandfathers NYC firefighter and NYC taxi driver.  To top things off, Lohta holds impressive academic credentials — cum laude at Georgetown University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Lohta will need all of his leadership, academic and management skills to keep the MTA on course with the capital program (years 2012-2014 currently unfunded), while providing quality service to riders.   The MTA situation at this moment is problematic — more debt financing, as proposed, may be too heavy a burden, especially for a public that has seen severe service cuts and fare increases over the last year.   Innovative solutions are needed!

To assist Lohta, Governor Cuomo announced the appointment of Nuria Fernandez as Chief Operating Officer (replacing Charlie Monheim).  She is currently senior vice -president of CH2M Hill, a firm that provides engineering, construction and operations services to businesses and governments.

Ira Greenberg, Chair of the PCAC, gave this reaction:

“I am pleased that the Selection Committee and the Governor have recommended a leadership team with diverse and vast skills and experience necessary to lead the agency and promote the best interests of the riders within and outside the MTA.  I thank the Committee for their hard work and the PCAC looks forward to working with Joe Lhota and Nuria Fernandez for improved service for the riders.”