Metro General Manager Richard Sarles is making some shifts in his top-level management, a move he says will help develop strategic plans for the agency’s future.

Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles participates in a Washington Post Live panel discussion for Fixing America's Foundation: Rebuilding Transportation Infrastructure on Oct. 14, 2011. (Marvin Joseph/WASHINGTON POST)

Sarles said the system is undergoing major rebuilding, working through a backlog of repairs and preparing for the new Silver Line to open. The management changes are looking “beyond that as an organization,” he said.

“We’re going to have the system rebuilt safely,” he said. “We have to look beyond that. We have to look at the big picture and what should WMATA be doing in the long range, as the population will continue to grow and demand for our services will continue to grow.”

The management changes include:

*Nat Bottigheimer, assistant general manager for planning, is leaving the transit agency in mid-June because his wife has a new job at Princeton University. Bottigheimer is expected to stay on into the fall to ”help advance the strategic planning effort,” Sarles said.

Sarles plans to conduct a search for Bottigheimer’s replacement.

*Shiva Pant, chief of staff for Metro and a longtime Metro employee, wanted to retire, but agreed to take on a new role as chief policy officer for the new Silver Line. His job will be in part to represent Sarles on a “policy level” in dealing with negotiations on the new 23-mile Metrorail line in Northern Virginia.

*Barbara Richardson will become the chief of staff. The chief performance officer and the departments of planning and government relations will report to her. Richardson currently is assistant general manager for customer service, communications and marketing.

*Lynn Bowersox will take over Richardson’s current job. Bowersox now serves as Metro’s managing director of public relations. Her current position will be abolished.

Sarles said the agency’s human resource department now will report directly to him as opposed to the chief of staff. This comes as the agency is expected to hire some 900 people in the near future, in part to get ready for the opening of the Silver Line.

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