WASHINGTON — The search for the next general manager at Metro is down to two finalists.
Sources tell WTOP that five candidates were in the running earlier this month, but now the list is down to two. The announcement about who will be the next general manager is expected in early November, according to the sources.
“We’re closing in on it. We have the candidates. We’re interviewing them. The four of us will have someone to the Board of Directors maybe by the end of October and someone in place in November. That is the goal,” said D.C. Council member and board member Jack Evans last week.
Metro has been without a permanent general manager since Richard Sarles retired in January. Federal and state officials have expressed frustration about how long it has taken to hire a new general manager. One stumbling block was getting a consensus on whether to hire someone with transit experience or someone who is a fiscal expert.
The new general manager will inherit several problems to deal with right away.
The National Safety Transportation Board is still investigating the smoke incident in January and will likely issue a final report in early 2016.
There has been a scathing report from the Federal Transit Administration into Metro safety and finances. The FTA has also put Metro on a restricted drawdown list for federal grants causing Metro to secure several short-term loans to keep afloat. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx placed Metro under the direct supervision of the FTA because the Tri-State Overnight Committee does not have enough power to oversee Metro.
In August, there was a derailment outside Smithsonian and questions persist about what will be done to address the root causes of the incident. In September, there was a transformer fire at the Stadium-Armory Metro, which has forced trains to slow down through the area and limited rush hour service to the station on the Blue Line.
Also, Metro is about to start considering the operating budget to take effect next July. Metro has not raised fares in two years, but Evans insists that he will not support any fare hikes in 2016.