Joseph J. Lhota, Chairman and CEO of the New York MTA (Mass Transit Authority), has announced his resignation today. He plans to explore a “potential candidacy” for Mayor of New York City on the Republican ticket. His resignation will be official as of December 31st.
Lhota is required by law to resign his government position if he plans to run for office. He will have served less than a year because he wasn’t appointed to his position until he was appointed on January 4th by Governor Andrew Cuomo. As he exits, the MTA Chairman leaves in his wake a slew of rate hikes across many of the agencies.
In a statement to all MTA employees, he touted his proudest accomplishments during his short time here. Lhota first mentioned his FASTRACK program, which targeted stations that needed the most help and repaired them first. He then went on to say how proud he was that the MTA was able to come together and support New York during Hurricane Sandy.
After his resignation, New York City Transit President Tom Prendergast will be serving as interim executive director. MTA Vice Chairman Fernando Ferrer will preside over Board meetings as Acting Chairman until a new Chairman/CEO is confirmed by the Senate. Lhota has also nominated Ferrer to be the next Chairman of the MTA.
Many political analysts believe that he will be using the performance of the MTA during Hurricane Sandy to bolster his campaign. Under his guidance, most of the railroads, subways, buses, tunnels and bridges, were open within a week of the devastation.
Christine C. Quinn, speaker of New York City’s council, is the perceived front-runner in the 2013 mayoral campaign. The Democrat is also the first woman and first openly gay official elected to that position. When asked about Lhota’s move to run as her opponent, she didn’t comment.
Joseph L. Lhota – Background
Before joining the MTA, Lhota was an executive for the Madison Square Garden Company, and was New York City Deputy Mayor for Operations under Rudy Giuliani. Lhota had also been New York City’s budget director and served as the commissioner of finance for New York City. He is a trustee of the City University of New York, and a graduate of Georgetown University and the Harvard Business School.
Joseph L. Lhota – Memo