With the general election just a few months away, BART’s board of directors will likely appoint an interim replacement with no long-term goals to fill the seat vacated by Bob Franklin.
Franklin, a former board president who represented BART’s District 3 in the East Bay, stepped down June 30 to accept another position with the transit agency. The board must appoint a replacement for Franklin within 60 days or that duty would fall to the nearest jurisdiction’s Board of Supervisors, which in this case is Alameda County.
Board President John McPartland said he is wary of appointing a replacement for Franklin who might have aspirations to run for the seat in the November election. BART is one of a handful of transit districts in the country that is governed by elected directors.
“We want to make sure that the voters have the final say in choosing a replacement,” said McPartland. “And I think it’s pretty clear that anyone who is appointed by the board would have a leg up against the competition in the election.”
So far, three candidates — Clarence Fischer, Anthony Pegram and Rebecca Saltzman — have filed to run for Franklin’s seat. BART Director Robert Raburn pointed out that candidates must file by Aug. 10, but the board doesn’t have to make a decision on Franklin’s replacement until Aug. 20. Thus, the board can appoint a director who would be ineligible to run for a full term.
“It’s important for the agency to have a full board of directors,” said Raburn. “We should be able to come up with a solution without hurting the candidates running for this seat.”
Raburn suggested the interim post could go to Mary King, a former interim general manager at AC Transit, or George Perezvelez, a member of BART’s Citizen Review Board.
Tom Radulovich, vice president of the board, said it would have been nice to hold a special election for Franklin’s opening, but there is not enough time.
“We have to be very careful with the appointment,” he said. “I think there is interest in appointing a caretaker replacement, but we want to be careful that we don’t have an Ed Lee situation on our hands.”
BART directors serve four-year terms, and there are no term limits.
Directors are slated to discuss Franklin’s replacement at their Thursday meeting.