PPT presented the following letter to the Port Authority Board today, naming specific qualities that should be looked for in a Port Authority CEO, and requesting a public process to screen candidates for the position:
To the Port Authority Board and CEO Hiring Committee,
The Port Authority plays a key role in shaping the future of our community, and in ensuring that Southwestern PA is a place that is truly livable and accessible to all. The search for a new Port Authority CEO is an opportunity to build a truly innovative mass transit system, with a holistic vision for the role of public transit and its contribution to the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of our region.
To that end, we at Pittsburghers for Public Transit believe there are a number of key attributes that should be emphasized in the search for a new CEO.
The Port Authority CEO should:
-Demonstrate a commitment to institutional transparency and elevating community voices in planning and decision-making. Riders and drivers, in particular, are experts in our transit system and offer valuable insight into how to best serve the communities in our region.
-Show evidence of a commitment to equity as a guiding principle. The CEO should understand how transportation and housing policy have had a disproportionately negative impact on low-income and minority communities, and work towards reversing that harm.
-Have demonstrable experience leading organizational change, and a willingness to embrace and implement new ways of thinking about transit. An ideal candidate should be a nationally-recognized expert and industry leader in green vehicle technology, equitable transit-oriented development, the first-mile last-mile public transportation “ecosystem” among other transit innovations.
– Be someone who has successfully built and maintained relationships with a diverse set of city and county entities and stakeholders, and will identify overlapping priorities and coordinate with those stakeholders in planning and project initiatives.
-Be a passionate public transit advocate, who recognizes that mass transit is first and foremost a public good, and not a business out to make a profit.
Finally, Pittsburghers for Public Transit believes that it is important for representatives from different stakeholder organizations, including labor, riders, policy advocates, neighborhood groups and foundations to participate in an initial screening to determine finalists for the Port Authority CEO, and that final candidates participate in a public forum and Q&A session. We respectfully request that, as an important public asset, the public be given an opportunity to weigh in on the final selection of a CEO.
On Behalf of PPT