When Greanias came aboard in 2010, the agency was suffering from what was termed as a “crisis of confidence.” There were questions over finances, along with morale problems. The agency also found itself in danger of losing millions of federal dollars that were earmarked for light rail construction. But with three new light rail lines now sixty percent complete, Greanias says he felt it was a good time to make a change.
“We certainly have accomplished a lot in the past two and a half years, and so I felt I could leave comfortable that we had accomplished the turnaround in the agency.”
Greanias is resigning as CEO effective December 31, but he’s not leaving the agency right away. Metro’s board voted to give Greanias a six-month consulting contract, to work on projects related to transportation for the disabled, as well as increasing general ridership on buses and trains.
Taking the job as interim CEO is senior vice-president Tom Lambert. He’s also also a former Metro police chief. Lambert has been with the agency for over 30 years but he says he’s not interested in taking the CEO’s job on a permanent basis.
“I’ve told the board I’m here for the interim. They’ve got some processes that will be going forward to look in the longer term. I’ve got the advantage of being here for a long time. I’ve think I’ve got some good expectations as to how we can meet the board’s expectations. But I’ve told them this is not something I’m looking to in the longer term.”
As for finding a permanent CEO, board chairman Gilbert Garcia says there’s a lot of talent locally but they plan to do a nationwide search.
“Well clearly I think we’re going to put a larger premium on transit experience because where we are with the three lines and where we are with our desire to improve the bus system. But clearly we’re going to look for people who I think will fit into the culture here, that have done this before.”
Along with overseeing the bus and rail systems, Metro’s next CEO will also be in charge of a new system of tolled HOT lanes on area freeways.