“We’re Nobody’s Rubber Stamp”: Governor’s MTA Leadership Shake-Up Rejected by Albany Lawmakers


A day after Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced plans to separate the highest government job on the MTA, state lawmakers who should approve the adjustments rejected the invoice, refusing to deliver it to the ground for a vote.

If handed, the invoice would have allowed the governor to nominate the MTA’s CEO with out Senate approval.

“We’re no one’s rubber stamp,” State Senator Michale Gianaris mentioned. “Provided that the MTA’s higher brass has been closely politicized the final a number of months, attacking the governor’s political opponents, consolidating much more energy over the company with a really quick period of time to overview and touch upon any proposal will not be one thing we’re desirous about.”

State Senator Diane Savino, who launched the invoice, mentioned there wasn’t sufficient assist amongst her fellow lawmakers to deliver it to a vote.

“There was concern over reversing the choice made in 2000 to separate the 2 positions and consolidating energy and objections from Unions,” she wrote in an announcement.

Savino mentioned considerations concerning the invoice got here from the Sheet Metallic Air Rail Transportation Division (SMART), which represents Lengthy Island Railroad staff.

Letting the governor decide the CEO of the MTA didn’t sit effectively with John Samuelsen, President of the Transport Employees Union (TWU) and an MTA board member. 

“We view that as problematic and never within the curiosity of transit staff or anyone employed by the MTA,” Samuelsen mentioned.

Below the governor’s proposal, the present interim President of New York Metropolis Transit, Sarah Feinberg, would develop into a chair of the MTA board, an unpaid place. The present head of development on the MTA, Janno Lieber, would have assumed the position of CEO, reporting on to the governor. The present MTA Chairman and CEO, Pat Foye, was to depart on July thirtieth to develop into Interim President and CEO of Empire State Improvement, New York’s financial growth company.

Now, all these plans are in flux, and the destiny of Feinberg, Lieber, and Foye is unclear. The MTA didn’t reply to questions concerning the invoice or who can be accountable for the highest management positions on the MTA.

“This invoice was neither within the Legislature’s finest curiosity nor the general public’s, because it was each dangerous coverage and course of,” Rachael Fauss, with the nice authorities group Reinvent Albany, wrote in an announcement. “The Legislature rightfully ought to reject last-minute, backroom energy grabs from the Governor than restrict their oversight authority.”

MTA Board member Bob Linn, who’s one in all 4 metropolis representatives on the board, supported the governor’s try and make Lieber the CEO.

“I perceive the priority over splitting the job into two positions. I do consider Janno would’ve been wonderful as a CEO and will’ve been given each alternative to succeed,” Linn mentioned.

“It’s a major problem who must be chosen to be each the CEO and the Chairman of the board. I feel, for example, Andy Byford can be a spectacular selection for that job.”

Byford, who was head of subways and buses till February 2020, was pushed out by Governor Cuomo, and now holds the highest place at Transport for London in his dwelling nation.

Board member Linn mentioned he hopes the MTA conducts a world seek for a acknowledged transportation knowledgeable to move up the authority.

That is the final week legislators in Albany can be voting on payments earlier than they go on break. In previous years, Cuomo has been there pushing payments he helps. On Wednesday, the governor spoke on the Tribeca Movie pageant in Manhattan, and held a ribbon slicing for a brand new pier behind the Javits Middle.