Metro Hires Official to Help Oversee Daily Operations
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. has hired a top District official to oversee part of the transit agency's bureaucracy, picking a leader that Mayor Adrian M. Fenty had touted as among the "best and the brightest" when he created his Cabinet.
City transportation director Emeka Moneme will become chief administrative officer for Metro, supervising the departments of human resources, information technology, safety, and planning and development, officials said yesterday.
The creation of the new position is meant to free up Catoe so he can concentrate on broader transportation issues, such as pushing jurisdictions in the region to create bus-only lanes to relieve congestion on roadways.
Metro can now "focus on larger public transportation issues on the horizon and future planning of this region's transportation needs," Catoe said in a statement.
"I realized I need some help in managing the internal activities of the agency," Catoe said in an interview. "It takes a great deal of my time."
Moneme, 35, will start the job in September. He will be paid $185,000, a jump from his $145,000 salary as the District's transportation chief. Fenty named Frank Seales Jr., who has been DDOT's general counsel since 2001, as interim director.
At Metro, Moneme will oversee a substantial portion of the daily administrative business of the 10,700-employee agency. He said conversations with Catoe about a position at Metro had become serious in the past few months. Calling the job a "great opportunity for my career," Moneme said Catoe "made it available now, so I pulled the trigger on it." He said his experience as transportation director will add to "what I can bring to bear on the vision" for Metro. "It's not just the city; it's the region," he said.
The Metro departments that Moneme will supervise are not directly involved in providing train and bus service, but they provide critical support for operations.
The human resources department does all the agency's recruiting and hiring. Negotiations with the labor unions that represent more than 7,000 employees will also fall under Moneme's portfolio.
The information technology department is helping Metro improve communication with riders and hopes to install flat-screen monitors to provide real-time information during service disruptions. Many systems that don't work properly, such as those monitoring contract awards, analyzing crime and telling riders when the next bus is arriving at a stop, are also rooted in information technology issues.
At DDOT, Moneme earned good marks for the smooth shutdown and repair of the Frederick Douglass Bridge, transit and parking preparations for Nationals Park, support for improved bus service and the development of a pedestrian safety plan.
But he was criticized during the first big snowfall of last year, when the administration failed to clear streets. The department's performance this year was better, in part because Fenty ordered Moneme to get plows on the streets sooner.
Moneme's move to Metro is a return of sorts. He was chief of staff to Dan Tangherlini when Tangherlini was Metro's interim general manager before Catoe arrived in 2007. When Tangherlini left Metro and became city administrator, he named Moneme to head the transportation department. With his new job, Moneme will have to leave his position on the Metro board of directors.
In other action, Metro appointed Carol Kissal, deputy director at DDOT, as chief financial officer. She will join the transit agency Aug. 14. She will be responsible for the collection of revenue and other income, purchases of goods and services, and accounting. She will replace Chuck Woodruff, who left the agency last month to work for a school administrators' association.