Board reappointments in question during pivotal time for MTA 

As the Municipal Transportation Agency battles a daunting fiscal crisis, the serving status of two members of its seven-person governing board is uncertain, with both appointees possibly termed out at the end of this month.

The third terms of Shirley Black and James McCray, the two longest serving members of the MTA board, officially ended on March 1. Under Proposition E, the voter-backed initiative passed in 1999 that created the MTA, the agency’s board members cannot serve longer than three four-year terms.

However, both McCray and Black served less than four years during their first term — in McCray’s case it was barely a month — so the city attorney’s office is now investigating whether those stints count as a full serving period. If not, McCray and Black could both be eligible for reappointment.

Tony Winnicker, spokesman for Gavin Newsom, said the mayor has been keeping a close eye on the appointment process, but is waiting to hear The City Attorney’s ruling on Black and McCray’s eligibility before making a decision to replace or reappoint the members. The two members are the only citizens on the MTA board not appointed by Newsom.

The city attorney’s office, citing attorney-client privileges, could not release any further information on their investigation.

Black, who is the aunt of current Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, said she has not been approached by Newsom about the reappointment, but is still very interested in serving on the MTA’s governing body.

“I love serving on the board,” said Black. “This is my family’s calling."

Under the City Charter, each MTA member has a 30-day extension period to their term following its official expiration, so Black and McCray can continue to act on the board until the end of March.

The MTA, which is facing a $56.4 million shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year, must submit a balanced budget proposal by May 1.

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Will Reisman

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