Who’s who at the MTA

MTA Chairman Joe Lhota
MTA Chairman Joe Lhota
a katz/Shutterstock
MTA Chairman Joe Lhota

Who’s who at the MTA

A guide to who is in control of New York's famously opaque mass transit agency.
February 1, 2018

With all the finger-pointing between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over who is responsible for the dilapidated subway system, it’s easy to become confused about, well, who is responsible for the dilapidated subway system. So that you can apportion blame correctly the next time your train inexplicably skips your stop, here is a handy guide explaining who does what at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority – the quasi-governmental organization overseeing public transportation in New York City and commuter train lines spanning seven surrounding counties that New Yorkers love to hate:

MTA Board

The MTA is governed by 17 board members, all of whom must be confirmed by the state Senate. The chair, vice chair and three other members are nominated by the governor. Four members – although technically nominated by the governor – are recommended by the mayor of New York City, and one member each is recommended by the county executives of Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties. Each of these members, who often represent the interests and ideological leanings of the person who nominated them, have one vote. The county executives of Dutchess, Orange, Rockland and Putnam also each recommend one member, but these four members have one collective vote. There are also six non-voting seats which represent unions and commuters.

There are several committees within the board that oversee different aspects of the MTA, such as the authority’s subsidiary agencies, as well as safety and finance. As the governor directly nominates five members, including the chair and vice chair, the preponderance of power rests with the governor. However, as a recent vote by the board to postpone subway renovations in an initiative proposed by Cuomo shows, this influence can be overruled.

Members nominated by Cuomo:

Chairman – Joe Lhota (Term expires: June 10, 2021)

Lhota, a former deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani, was the Republican nominee for Mayor of New York City in 2013 was nominated and approved as chairman, but not CEO, of the MTA in June, 2017 (the CEO position was split from the chairman position that year). Lhota had previously served as chairman and CEO in 2012.

Vice chairman – Fernando Ferrer (Term expires: June 30, 2022)

Ferrer, a former Bronx borough president Democratic mayoral nominee,has served as acting chairman twice previously, in 2013 and in 2017, before Lhota was re-appointed.

Charles G. Moerdler (Term expires: June 30, 2016)

Moerdler, an attorney, is a “holdover,” meaning that while his term expired in 2016, no one has been nominated or confirmed to take his place. He can be dismissed at any time.

Scott Rechler (Term expires: June 30, 2023)

Rechler, chairman and CEO of RXR Realty, is also chairman of the Regional Plan Association, and was one of the governor’s appointees on the Fix NYC panel that released a report on congestion pricing in January.

Lawrence Schwartz (Term expires: June 30, 2018)

Schwartz, formerly the secretary to the governor, is now the chief strategy officer at airport concessions company OTG.

Peter Ward (Term expires: June 30, 2021)

Ward is president of the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO.

Members recommended by de Blasio:

David R. Jones (Term expires: June 30, 2020)

Jones is president and CEO of the Community Service Society, an advocacy group for low-income New York City residents.

Polly Trottenberg (Term expires: June 30, 2023)

Trottenberg is the current commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, which oversees transportation infrastructure within the five boroughs.

Veronica Vanterpool (Term expires: June 30, 2020)

Vanterpool is the former executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a transit advocacy group.

Carl Weisbrod (Term expires: June 30, 2023)

Formerly the chairman of the New York City Planning Commission and director of the city Department of City Planning, Weisbrod is currently senior advisor at HR&A Advisors, Inc.

Other members with one individual vote:

John J. Molloy (Term expires: June 30, 2021)

Molloy, a retired engineering firm executive, was recommended by former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and appointed in 2013.

Mitchell H. Pally (Term expires: June 30, 2016)

Pally, CEO of the Long Island Builders Institute, a trade association, was recommended by former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy and appointed in 2005. He is also a holdover member.

Andrew Saul (Term expires: June 30, 2021)

Saul, a business executive, previously served as the member recommended by the Westchester County executive from 1996 to 2005. He served as an appointee of the governor from 2006 until 2015, and was was re-appointed in 2016 on the recommendation of  former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino in 2015.

Members with one collective vote:

Susan Metzger (Term expires: June 30, 2022) – Recommended by Orange County executive.

James E. Vitiello (Term expires: June 30, 2022) – Recommended by Dutchess County executive.

Carl V. Wortendyke (Term expires: June 30, 2022) – Recommended by Rockland County executive.

Neal Zuckerman (Term expires: June 30, 2022) – Recommended by Putnam County executive.

Non-voting seats:

Andy Albert (Term expires: Jan. 1, 2019) – Recommended by New York City Transit Riders Council.

Norman E. Brown (Term expires: Dec. 31, 2006) – Holdover, recommended by Metro-North Railroad Unions.

Randolph Glucksman (Term expires: Jan. 1, 2019) – Recommended by Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council.

Ira Greenberg (Term expires: Dec. 31, 2018) – Recommended by Long Island Rail Road Commuter Council.

John Samuelsen (Term expires: Jan. 1, 2018) – Holdover, recommended by Transport Workers Union.

Vincent Tessitore Jr. (Term expires: Jan. 1, 2013) – Holdover, recommended by United Transportation Union.

MTA Management:

Office of the Chairman:

The office of the chairman was formed by Lhota shortly after taking office. Members of the management team are named by the MTA chairman.

Chairman – Joe Lhota

President – Patrick Foye

Managing Director – Veronique Hakim

Chief Development Officer – Janno Lieber

Other members of the management team:

Chief Operating Officer – Phillip Eng

Chief Financial Officer – Robert E. Foran

Acting General Counsel – Helene Fromm

Auditor General – Michael J. Fucilli

Chief of Police/Chief Security Officer – Owen Monaghan

Chief Safety Officer – David L. Mayer

Chief Diversity Officer – Michael Garner

Chief Employee Relations and Administrative Officer – Anita Miller

Senior Director, Business and Service Center – Wael Hibri

Senior Director, Human Resources/Retirement Programs – Margaret Connor

Director, Regulatory Affairs and Corporate Standards and Benchmarking – KellyAnne Gallagher

Director of Special Project Development and Planning – William Wheeler

Executive Officer, Corporate Communications, Marketing and Branding – John McKay

MTA Agencies:

The MTA has several subsidiary agencies, which are overseen by the chairman and members of the board, with each agency having a dedicated board committee. Each agency also has its own leadership structures which manage day-to-day operations.

President, NYC Transit – Andy Byford

NYC Transit operates all public transportation in New York City, including New York City Subway, Staten Island Railway, and New York City Bus (which is managed by MTA Bus).

President, MTA Bridges and Tunnels – Cedrick T. Fulton

MTA Bridges and Tunnels operates the nine bridges and tunnels in New York City.

President, MTA Bus – Darryl C. Irick (Irick is also senior vice president of NYC Transit, Department of Bus)

President, MTA Capital Construction – Janno Lieber

Capital Construction manages major expansion projects and transit infrastructure projects in lower Manhattan.

President, Long Island Rail Road – Patrick A. Nowakowski

Acting President, Metro-North Railroad – Catherine Rinaldi

Correction: This article previously ommitted MTA board member Lawrence Schwartz.

Grace Segers
is City & State’s digital reporter. She writes daily content on New York City and New York state politics.