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MTA's Chief Joseph Lhota Says He'll Work with Customers and Employees

By Ben Fractenberg | November 14, 2011 12:01pm
Joseph Lhota started as the MTA's executive director on Monday after Jay Walder's departure in October.
Joseph Lhota started as the MTA's executive director on Monday after Jay Walder's departure in October.
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Madison Square Garden

MANHATTAN  — The MTA's new boss, who started Monday, says he'll begin to improve services by understanding the operation from top-to-bottom.

Joseph Lhota, a deputy mayor in the Giuliani administration, is the newest executive director of the transport giant, following the departure of Jay Walder in October, who left to run Hong Kong's transit system after two years at the helm.

Lhota, a former banker, issued a statement Monday noting that he plans to roll up his sleeves to focus on managing the transportation agency's finances and operations.

"We have a responsibility to operate our service as efficiently and effectively as possible," he said. "The MTA is facing a number of difficult fiscal and operating challenges, including funding our vital capital program and continuing to improve service in tough economic times."

He said he'll spend  the next couple of months "understanding this organization from top-to-bottom and listening to our employees, customers, and community leaders as we work together to shape an agenda and improve this vital service for all New Yorkers."

Before joining the MTA, Lhota served as Executive Vice President for Madison Square Garden.

For his first official act of business, Lhota is teaming up with Transport Workers Union Local 100, penning a letter to prosecutors to stiffen penalties for riders who attack transit workers, according to the Daily News.

Additional changes in the MTA leadership were announced Monday.

Nuria Fernandez, who previously worked for the U.S. Department of Transportation, will be chief operating officer.

Catherine Rinaldi, who was a former MTA general counsel, will serve as chief of staff.

Charlie Monheim will stay on the MTA's leadership team in a new position as director of strategic initiatives, where he will lead the agency's technology projects and oversee labor relations.