A Maryland representative on the Metro board is stepping down after three years, and her replacement comes with financial management chops but little transportation experience.
Keturah D. Harley, who served on the board since April 2015 and spent most of that time as vice chair, stepped down voluntarily, according to the office of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R).
Hogan has already chosen Harley’s successor: Clarence C. Crawford, a consultant and financial management specialist from Prince George’s County.
The change comes shortly after the Maryland General Assembly approved legislation that requires one of the state’s two voting members on the board be the Maryland secretary of transportation, or the secretary’s designee, and is part of an effort to increase the level of transportation-specific expertise on the panel.
But the requirement won’t apply to Crawford, because Hogan has not signed the bill into law.
Crawford is senior vice president at the consulting firm Addx Corporation and is a former managing director at Deloitte Consulting. He also is an adjunct professor at American University, where he teaches courses on federal budgeting, ethics and risk management.
His résumé does not include experience at public-sector transportation agencies, or working on transportation or engineering issues in the private sector.
Hogan’s office brushed off the idea that Crawford’s appointment circumvented the General Assembly’s legislative intent or undercut its goal of increasing transportation expertise on the board.
“The governor believes Mr. Crawford has the best skill set and experience to serve the board,” Hogan spokesman Amelia Chassé said in an email. “He has decades of extremely broad and deep finance, management, and budgetary experience, and teaches courses in risk management and ethics.”
Crawford’s experience, Chassé said, “is complimentary to that of Mr. [Michael] Goldman, Maryland’s other board member, and brings an important focus to the board.”
Goldman has served on the board since 2013. He is a lawyer who specializes in aviation and regulatory issues related to airlines and airports.
The Metro Board Member Act passed by the Maryland lawmakers was one of several governance reforms that were pushed in conjunction with the state’s promise to increase its long-term capital contributions to Metro.
Chassé said the governor is still considering whether he will sign the legislation.
“The bill is not yet law, it is currently under review by the governor’s office,” Chassé said. “With Ms. Harley’s pending departure, there was a vacancy that needed to be filled.”
Del. Erek L. Barron (D-Prince George’s), one of the bill’s sponsors, said he is not concerned about Crawford’s appointment — though he does hope that Hogan signs the bill soon.
“I understand that the governor’s office can’t slow down and wait for us, and I think it’s appropriate that things keep going,” Barron said. “It’s not like this is an urgent change, but it’s something that we expect to be put into place at some point soon, so it would apply for the next person.”
Barron said lawmakers were inspired in part by the process they went through to approve the members of the new Metro Safety Commission, a federally-mandated independent body that launched last month to oversee and regulate safety issues at Metro. The legislation establishing the commission included requirements that representatives have expertise related to transportation.
That expertise would serve the Metro board well, too, he said.
“This way, we thought we would have more control and accountability on the board. It will help bring in board members who are more invested in the operation and success of the system,” Barron said.
It’s a similar policy to that of the District, which typically appoints its director of transportation to the board.
Harley, a lawyer whose experience is mostly with the federal government, was known as one of the more reserved members of the board. She rarely spoke during meetings and generally refused to answer questions from reporters.
When she did speak, she was known for offering matter-of-fact distillations of Hogan’s stances on controversial topics and her tough questions to Metro officials on issues of particular importance to Maryland.
Harley could not be reached for comment.
“I want to thank Keturah Harley for her contributions to Metro,” Metro board chairman Jack Evans said in a statement, “and I look forward to working with Mr. Crawford when he joins.”
Faiz Siddiqui contributed to this report.