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Less than 24 hours after Albany passed its MTA bailout package, MTA chief executive Elliot “Lee” Sander has resigned. In an interview with WPIX, he did not dispute the assertion that Governor Paterson requested his resignation. The Governor told WNYC earlier that the MTA is in need of a shakeup. (“Despite the feckless performance of Paterson and his Albany cohorts during the doomsday debacle, and the short-sighted deal that resulted,” says Streetsblog, “we assume the governor managed to keep a straight face.”)
Sander leaves on May 22. The Straphangers Campaign expressed regret at Sander’s exit (“If the Straphangers Campaign was in charge here, we would have begged Lee Sander to stay”), as has councilmember John Liu, chairman of the council’s transportation committee. Sander has been known since his appointment by Eliot Spitzer in 2007 for his aggressiveness in cutting through the notorious layers of MTA accountancy which, Sander recently said, “would probably have made the Kremlin proud.”
The Times suggests Paterson may opt to appoint H. Dale Hemmerdinger, currently serving as MTA chairman, to fill both his and Sander’s place, an arrangement mandated by the new bill. Newsday likes former MTA director Marc Shaw, an early advocate of the MetroCard. We wonder if Richard Ravitch is available.