Interim Muni chief named to replace Nat Ford 

Muni named Debra Johnson, the lead agency negotiator for the  transit agency during contract talks with its operators union, to take over as the interim department chief Friday.

Thursday will mark the last day for departing executive director Nathaniel Ford, who was asked to leave by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors earlier this month, resulting in a $384,000 severance package.

The SFMTA board, which governs the agency that operates Muni, had intended to name executive deputy director Carter Rohan as Ford’s interim replacement. However, Rohan announced his resignation from the SFMTA on June 21, leaving the agency’s top two positions vacant.

In the wake of those departures, the SFMTA board of directors named Johnson the interim chief at its special meeting Tuesday. Johnson, whose official title is Director of Administration, Taxis and Accessible Services, was the MTA’s point person during its three-month contract negotiations with the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, a process that eventually led to the agency securing $41million in cost savings over the next three years. Johnson previously held the title of the SFMTA’s chief of staff and director of external affairs.

While the agency’s board of directors said they would be accepting applications from national candidates for the SFMTA executive director position, Ford’s full-time replacement is likely to be a local hire. Many agency insiders say that Ed Reiskin , the director of San Francisco’s Department of Public Works, will be hired on as the SFMTA chief.

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Will Reisman

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