By Patrick Madden
Metro's General Manager is resigning after three years on the job. John Catoe earned rave reviews for Metro's performance during last year's presidential Inauguration but says recent events, including the deadly Metro crash in June, have become an "unhealthy distraction."
Catoe's resignation announcement stunned many members of the Metro Board, who now must begin the search for a new general manager.
"We are obviously disappointed we have to face this challenge. But this is his decision and we will have to work with it," says Metro Board Chairman Jim Graham.
There have been a number of high-profile safety lapses in the past six months. Metro also is facing a major budget shortfall and will likely have to raise fares.
Jackie Jeter, president of the Metro's largest union, has been one of Catoe's most vocal critics in the past, but she has concerns about the move.
"There is nobody that is going to be at the helm of the organization. And even if you bring a new person," she says. "There is still going to be a learning curve that they are going to have to go through."
Finding Catoe's replacement may be difficult. There are few transit systems as large and complex as Metro.
Catoe's last day is April 2nd. The board says it will start the search for candidates in the next few days.