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Metro picks James Dougherty new safety officer

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Metro has selected James Dougherty, director of safety for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, as its new chief safety officer, although no formal offer has been extended, Metro officials said Monday.

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Metro notified its board of directors last week that Dougherty is its pick for the top safety job -- one of the most important of several vacancies in Metro's senior ranks, according to board member Jeff McKay of Fairfax County.

Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said Monday that Metro has "not made an offer to anyone" for the chief safety job, which has been vacant since mid-December when the former safety officer, Alexa Dupigny-Samuels, stepped down. Metro Police Chief Michael Taborn was put in charge of safety while Metro recruited a replacement.

Dougherty has more than 25 years of experience in transportation safety, having overseen safety at transit systems in San Francisco, Charlotte and Cleveland since 1984. He is a former police officer and studied criminal justice at David Myers University in Cleveland.

"Until you have a permanent person in the job, you will not get sweeping changes made in a critical area such as safety," McKay said.

-- Ann Scott Tyson

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