Muni chief Nat Ford to quit at end of month 

Nat Ford, the embattled executive director of Muni, will be stepping down from his post at the end of the month.

The decision for Ford to leave the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees Muni, was a mutually-agreed upon departure between him and the agency’s board of directors, said Tom Nolan, the board chair.

Ford, who earns $308,000 a year, recently signed a two-year contract extension with the agency. Under the terms of his exit, he will be paid $375,000, plus three months of health insurance coverage, which will bring his total departure package to $384,000, Nolan said.

Job speculation has swirled for months concerning the future of Ford, who has been rumored as the lead candidate at a number of agency openings in the past, including a prominent position at a Washington, D.C., airport authority. His persistent job hedging had some transit advocates calling for his ouster by the agency’s board of directors.

However, insiders familiar with the agency said no action on Ford’s future was likely until the SFMTA wrapped up its contentious labor negotiations with its operators union. On Monday night, an independent arbitrator imposed a three-year contract between management and the union, essentially ending the months-long labor battle.

“This just seems like the right time for him and the agency,” said Nolan. “This is not a termination, and I think Nat seemed very much at peace with this decision.”

Nolan said that Ford did not have another job immediately lined up.

Carter Rohan, the agency’s executive deputy director, will assume Ford’s position on an interim basis, Nolan said.

Walter Scott, secretary-treasurer for the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A, which frequently butted heads with Ford, said he wishes the general manger “the best of luck” in career following the SFMTA.

“We had a pretty good working relationship until the last year and a half,” said Scott. “I don’t wish anything bad upon him.”

Scott did say that a new general manager could bring a fresh start to the relationship between the union and management.

“Hopefully who ever comes in here can get the morale back up with the operators and can be fair and transparent,” said Scott.

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Will Reisman

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