Yesterday morning, after the State Legislature agreed to bailout the MTA, Governor Paterson took to the underground, taking a subway to the 42nd Street-Bryant Park stop. He told commuters, "We're going to have a widespread cleanup and clean out of the MTA. And start getting this place working in an effective way. Because the one thing I've learned through this process is no one trusts anything the MTA says." Cut to a few hours later, when MTA CEO Lee Sander announced his resignation.
Sander, a former city transportation commissioner who was appointed to the position by former governor Eliot Spitzer, had offered his resignation to Paterson earlier this year; when Paterson accepted it (apparently yesterday), the Post reports that Sander said, "I am disappointed, but I respect the governor's decision." The Post also adds that Sander's last day is May 22 and "he'll collect a year's salary of $350,000, according to terms set in his employment letter." According to the NY Times, "Mr. Sander and Mr. Paterson have never appeared to have a close relationship. While Mr. Sander spoke directly with Mr. Spitzer, he generally dealt with Mr. Paterson’s staff."
Now the speculation begins for who will be appointed; one contender is former NYC deputy mayor and NYC budget chief Marc Shaw who helped usher in Metrocards when he was with the MTA (Shaw has been advising the governor lately). Paterson's office said, "The governor is committed to finding the strongest possible candidate to lead and manage the MTA."
Transit Workers Union Roger Toussaint praised Sander to the NY Times; Sander, notably, reached out to Toussaint after he was appointed (the pair lunched at the Old Homestead). Toussaint told the Times, “He took the first real major steps to turn the agency around, to restore the customer-service orientation there, to restore employee confidence and to make the agency more transparent and accountable. My greatest concern here is that the progress made could be lost if the governor makes a wrong choice."