The Metro Board Picks the Wrong Manager

Earlier this year, when speculation arose that the Board of Directors, august solons that they are, was looking for a cost-cutter, not someone who, I dunno, knows how to run a fucking train, I noted that riders really don’t want or need that:

But the larger issue is that most of her Metro riding constituents–over half of the adult workforce–don’t care about cost-cutting, they want the Metro to work. Potentially not dying in a fire would be nice too. Yes, in principle cost-cutting could be used to reallocate existing resources, though cutting workers won’t help repair a subway system that desperately needs more repair. But the reality is that cost-savings probably won’t be funneled back into Metro. Instead, as nearly thirty years of the neo-liberal project suggests, the savings will be funneled back into the general funds of the District, Maryland, and Virginia–probably to provide tax cuts.

No doubt this policy will be popular with the leading counter-indicator known as The Washington Post editorial board (“We were right about the Iraq War, amirite?”), most of whom don’t use the Metro.

How this helps Bowser’s constituents though, including those who use public transit*, other than the ones who donate $12,000 to her campaign, escapes me.

People have to like this crap, which means Metro has to work better. Focusing on cost-cutting probably won’t get us there.

Guess what? The corrupticonz of the Metro Board have deliberated and they chose this guy (boldface mine):

His name is Neal Cohen, 55, and he lands from the world of aerospace and defense. Huh? Metro picked someone who’s worked with planes instead of trains? Maybe. Sources tell the Washington Post that the agency is still negotiating with Cohen over his compensation….

Prior to joining the missile-making company, Cohen was president and chief operating officer of Laureate Education, an international for-profit university network, headquartered in Baltimore.

But maybe the Washington Post has some good news?

He was a [financial] cleanup artist, and he’s very good at what he does,” said the ex-colleague, a longtime airline official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect his current job. The former colleague, who is familiar with Metro’s operational and financial problems, predicted that Cohen would focus intensely on the agency’s fiscal bottom line.

“He’s going to come in as a cost-reduction artist,” said the former colleague, who repeatedly described Cohen as “quirky,” adding, “He’s likeable — right up until the minute when he’s not.”

…At both airlines, Cohen tangled with unions. Pilots at US Airways called for his ouster after billions of dollars in concessions from unions failed to restore the airline to profitability.

Also, he seems like kind of a dick:

He also called Cohen “an odd duck,” saying: “He would call meetings for 7 o’clock at night and then go to the gym. He would show up for the meeting at 8, find everyone in the room waiting for him and just say, ‘Hey, what’s up?’ ”

Let’s review:

  1. No experience running a commuter rail, mass transit system, or bus system.
  2. Focuses on cutting costs, not improving service.
  3. Tangled with labor–and did so unproductively (it’s not like the labor bashing did any good).
  4. Kind of a dick.

This is going to be a disaster. Impeach all the board members. Do it now.

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1 Response to The Metro Board Picks the Wrong Manager

  1. VickieFeminist says:

    And safety issues?

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