Letter: Lieber’s choice for next NYC Transit president is a mistake

MTA’s Janno Lieber at a Bronx press conference Aug. 16, 2021, flanked by NYCT Interim President Craig Cipriano, left, and NYC DOT Commissioner Gutman.
Photo Kevin Duggan

To the Editor,

MTA Chairman Janno Lieber’s appointment of former Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey to serve as the next NYC Transit president is disappointing.

The job requires a detailed knowledge of the agency and navigating the difficult political landscape of City Hall and Albany. The portfolio also includes $40 billion worth of NYC Transit bus, subway and Staten Island Railway capital projects within the MTA’s $54 billion 2020-2024 Five Year Capital Plan. There is little time for on the job training to run the nation’s largest subway and bus system.

Any good organization develops in-house talent by promoting from within. It will take an outsider such as Davey many months to come up to speed in understanding such a complex system and operations.

Just like many of his predecessors brought in from the outside, watch how he will depart within a few years for the greener pastures of a higher salary at another transit agency, consulting firm or fall out of favor with the current governor and asked to leave.

Why didn’t Lieber have confidence in the ability of someone from within NYC Transit to fill this position? It is an insult to the hard working current NYC Transit management team — 55,000 employees and more than 5 million pre-COVID-19 riders not to have appointed someone from within NYC Transit.

Larry Penner,

Former director of the Federal Transit Administration, NY Region

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