Buffeted by budget shortfalls in both operating and capital construction budgets, Elliot G. Sander announced his resignation, effective May 22, as executive director of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The resignation came even as Gov. David Paterson signed legislation easing the fare increases, and eliminating many proposed service cuts, for the massive system.
Observers say the resignation gives Gov. Paterson wide latitude in appointing a successor, with some noting the governor considered Sander not respectful enough of the political landscape. Without mentioning Sander specifically, Paterson declared, “We’re going to have a widespread cleanup and cleanout of the MTA and start getting this place working in an effective way.”
"That's typical of a politician to say something mean-spirited and uninformed like that, especially one who understands almost nothing about public transportation or the kind of resources it takes to run the MTA," said one rail industry observer. "Elliot can hold his head high. He's a transportation professional, not a political hack. He was doing an excellent job."
Sander and current MTA Chairman H. Dale Hemmerdinger were appointed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Still uncertain is whether Paterson will also replace Hemmerdinger, whose term of office now expires within 30 days, as mandated bythe recently signed legislation. Hemmerdinger, or a new chairman, also would assume the title of chief executive, responsible for daily oversight of the system.