Home Asides Cuomo set to retain Walder as MTA’s top dog

Cuomo set to retain Walder as MTA’s top dog

by Benjamin Kabak

Update (4:35 p.m.): Here’s a rare bit of good news out of Albany concerning the MTA’s future: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has decided to keep Jay Wader as head of the MTA and Christopher Ward as Executive Director of the Port Authority, Erik Engquist of Crain’s New York reported this morning. According to the story, Walder has already been informed of the decision, and Cuomo, who “credits Mr. Walder with finding efficiencies worth hundreds of millions of dollars” at the MTA, appears pleased with Walder’s tenure at the MTA. Engquist’s sources say that Walder’s Golden Parachute provisions had nothing to do with Cuomo’s decision.

As Crain’s notes, “the decisions to keep the Port and MTA chiefs are not likely to draw many objections, except from the Transport Workers Union, which has attempted to demonize Mr. Walder in an effort to gain leverage in contract negotiations.” I’d say that’s an accurate assessment. The TWU fears an MTA head with the full support of a governor who has discussed going after union contracts while transit advocates have praised Walder for his willingness to cut the MTA’s fat while moving the subway system and its technology into the 21st Century. All in all, it’s a good move to keep Walder on, and the MTA will be able to enjoy stability at the top for the next half a decade.

Gene Russianoff, head of the Straphangers Campaign, voiced his support for the move this afternoon. “Governor Andrew Cuomo did the right thing keeping Jay Walder – a transit professional – MTA Chairman and CEO,” he said in a statement. “Hopefully, this positive signal will be followed by positive actions, including Governor Cuomo’s not raiding dedicated transit funds, as well as coming up with the billions needed to repair our aging transit system.”

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4 comments

AlexB January 24, 2011 - 1:44 pm

whew

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BBnet3000 January 24, 2011 - 11:35 pm

For me the feeling is twofold. I’m glad for his severance package because theres no reason that a new governor should kick out a non-political position holder who was appointed by the previous governor.

At the same time, if Walder was not doing a good job, they should be able to get rid of him. With his background though, he is as close to a sure thing as they come.

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Al D January 25, 2011 - 11:19 am

Hey, a smart decision of Albany. And of course credit as well to Gov. Paterson for recruiting Mr. Walder in the first place.

Can things be actually looking up in Albany?

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Grading Jay Walder :: Second Ave. Sagas February 7, 2011 - 12:58 am

[…] MTA with the power of both the CEO and Chairman for 16 months, and it sounds as though he’ll serve out his tenure. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has seemingly indicated that he’ll keep Walder on board, and […]

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