METRO Chair Pledges Cooperation
by: Laurie Johnson, December 16, 2009 10:12:06 pm
It's to be expected when a new administration takes over that there will be some staff and board shake-ups.
Mayor-elect Annise Parker pledged on the campaign trail to clean house at the Houston Police Department and METRO.
HPD Chief Harold Hurtt has already announced his intention to resign at the end of the year.
But METRO Chairman David Wolff says he intends to stick around for the transition and work with Parker to make sure operations at METRO continue smoothly.
"Well I want to work very carefully with her to make sure there is an orderly transition. There's too much going on at METRO now, we've accomplished too much to take a chance that the transition doesn't go smoothly. So I'm uncertain as to the timetable, I would guess it would be some time in the next few months."
Wolff says he's offered to meet with Parker and update her on the status of the transit authority. Beyond that, he says it was never his intention to stick around in the position.
"I had not intended to serve as chairman of METRO for six years. I thought I would do it for two years or four years — I thought it would take about 25 percent of my time, it really takes about 50 percent of my time. And as much as a year ago I told Mayor White that I was going to step down, but then I decided that wasn't fair to him being that he was in the final year of his term."
Houston Mayor Bill White appointed Wolff as chairman of METRO in 2004.
White says Wolff is respected in urban planning circles and inherited a lot of challenges with running METRO.
"Like all of us, he has his strengths and weaknesses, but he had a vision for what he wanted to accomplish for Houston to get light rail built. If you've observed his conduct at public sessions and public meetings, Mr. Wolff is polite but firm and sticks by facts and he's been a fearless warrior to try to get federal funds."
Wolff says he's not sure exactly when he'll step down. But he says the METRO job is very demanding and it's nearing the time for him to pass the baton.
Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.