MTA Taps LIRR President To Replace Elliot Sander

The resignation of MTA CEO/Executive Director Elliot Sander continues to make news as the MTA has named his interim successor. The interim successor will be none other than Long Island Rail Road President Helena Williams. She will officially take over on an interim basis pending approval from the MTA Board at their May 27th meeting. The agency sent me a press release about it earlier today with complete details:

MTA Chairman H. Dale Hemmerdinger today announced that Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) President Helena E. Williams will serve as interim Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, pending MTA Board approval at its regularly scheduled meeting on May 27. Williams’ appointment will remain in effect until a new Chairman and CEO is nominated by Governor Paterson and confirmed by the State Senate. Williams will retain her title and responsibilities as LIRR President.

“This is a time of transition at the MTA, but it is critical that we continue to serve our customers without missing a beat,” said H. Dale Hemmerdinger, Chairman of the MTA Board. “Helena Williams is doing a terrific job at the Long Island Rail Road and will be an excellent steward for the entire transit system until a new Chairman and CEO is appointed.”

“I am honored to be asked to step in temporarily – pending approval of the MTA Board – to serve in this position while continuing my duties as President of the LIRR. As we all know, the subway, bus, bridge, tunnel and commuter rail systems are the lifeblood of our city and of the entire New York metropolitan region. I’ve spent much of my career at the MTA, so this will be an exciting challenge.”

A labor lawyer by training, Williams has served as president of Long Island Bus and the LIRR during a combined 15 years at the MTA. She also served as deputy county executive to Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi. Under her leadership at the LIRR, the Rail Road has reached record on time performance and improved communications with customers. She is a graduate of St. John’s University School of Law.

I feel this is a good pick on an interim basis as it is someone who knows the ins & outs of what is going on within the MTA during its current financial crisis. She has done a tremendous job since being hired by Elliot Sander to serve as LIRR President in June 2007. I have noticed an improvement in many areas under watch & expect that to continue in the future.

She would be an interesting candidate as the permanent CEO/Executive Director. However the chances of her having the “interim” tag removed seem remote with the obsession Gov. Paterson has with failed predecessor Marc Shaw. Don’t you just love Albany!

xoxo Transit Blogger

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[…] Williams as the MTA’s interim CEO/Executive Director. This was a story I first blogged about 6 days ago when the MTA first made the announcement pending board approval. New York 1 filed this brief […]

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