Out-going Metro General Manager Theodore C. Lutz was praised as a public servant with an "unusual sense of dedication and loyalty" yesterday as he attended his last Metro board meeting as the chief executive officer of the area's transit agency.
Metro Board Chairman Jerry A. Moore Jr., a D.C. city councilman, made the comment about Lutz shortly after the board meeting opened. It concluded a round of testimonial dinners and honors Lutz has received since he announced that he would leave after 2 1/2 years on the job.
Technically, Lutz will remain as general manager until May 5, but he will be on vacation. He has promised to testify twice before Congress on Metro matters in the interim.
Lutz' successor, Richard S. Page, currently the chief of the federal Urban Mass Transportation Administration, will be sworn in as the new Metro chief May 7.
Yesterday's Metro board meeting was typical of the many Lutz has attended in the last few months. There was a committee meeting that preceded the board meeting during which area politicians were unable once again to agree on the final formula for a fare increase; there was an executive session during which the board was advised on the progress of resolving a major contractual claim against Metro, and there was the regular full board meeting at which everything was discussed from the irritating way Metro refunds disgruntled subway riders who were cheated by Farecard machines to a routine authorization to buy new batteries for buses.
Lutz also told the board that he was preparing final recommendations to them on how Metro can pick up full bus service to Reston, assuming a substantial subsidy increase from Fairfax County.
This week the Fairfax Board of Supervisors granted Reston $47,000 so Reston can continue bus service through June.
The Fairfax Board has been moving toward approving the full increase in response to substantial Reston resident unrest over the quality of service provided by Colonial Transit, an private company. Several years ago, Reston fired Metro because it cost too much.
The board also approved a two-week-old suggestion of its budget committee to increase the size of the Metro Transit Police by three officers. That increase would permit full-time police coverage of the Minnesota Avenue Metro station, where there have been numerous citizen complaints about a lack of safety.
The additional policemen were approved on a 5-to-1 vote, with Arlington County member Walter Frankland voting no. "We've picked out one particular station (for this kind of coverage), Frankland said. "Does that not open us up for liability at some other stations? Where do we draw the line?"
D.C. board member Douglas Schneider responded that "We have a problem at Minnesota Avenue, a perception problem, and we need to put a Band-Aid on that..."
"Get the D.C. police Band-Aid and put it on it." Frankland suggested. CAPTION: Picture, Theodore Lutz smiles at Metro meeting. With him is William Boleyn, an aide. By Linda Wheeler-The Washington Post