Muni deputy chief Carter Rohan resigns, list to replace Nat Ford shrinks 

Carter Rohan, Muni’s executive deputy director and top contender to replace the departing Nathaniel Ford, handed in his resignation, giving further indication that Ed Reiskin will assume responsibilities for San Francisco’s transit agency.

Citing personal and health reasons, Rohan will step down from the agency July 22, roughly three weeks after he’s set to take over the executive director role on an interim basis from Ford, who will be leaving June 30.

Rohan joined the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency in March 2006 at the behest of Ford, and spent the first five years with the agency as its capital programs director, notably taking the lead on Muni’s $1.6 billion Central Subway project. Earlier this year, his title was changed to executive deputy director, an indication that he may be lining up to succeed Ford.

Rohan and Reiskin, the current director of San Francisco’s Department of Public Works, were believed to be the top two contenders to replace Ford. With Rohan’s resignation announcement on Tuesday, Reiskin is now the clear favorite to take over as the executive director of the SFMTA, which oversees Muni, taxis, pedestrians, bikes and traffic in San Francisco.

Rohan said he made up his mind to leave the agency during the first weekend of June, and that the decision had absolutely nothing to do with the events surrounding Ford’s departure. He said he wants to spend more time with his wife and daughter, who both live in Georgia, and his extended family members, who live in Texas. He also said he needs to address some of his recent health problems.

“I spoke to [SFMTA board chair] Tom Nolan last week and told him I didn’t know if I could give 110 percent to the agency if I was named executive director,” Rohan said. “And we need someone who can make that commitment to the agency.

Nolan said that Rohan will act as the interim director of the SFMTA from July 1 to July 22, when he steps down. By that time, the agency will need to hire a new executive director, Nolan said. The seven-person SFMTA board makes the final decision on hiring Ford’s replacement.

Unlike Ford, who was approached by the SFMTA board and asked to leave, Rohan is stepping down on his own volition. He will not receive any sort of financial package for his departure, SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said.

Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of SPUR, a public think-tank that specializes in transit issues, said it is not surprising that Rohan has decided to leave the SFMTA.

“Carter was a great asset for this city and I’m sorry to see him go,” Metcalf said. “But he was very much a part of Nat Ford’s team, and as that era comes to a close, it makes sense that he might also be ready for the next thing.”

Metcalf said there is little possibility anyone other than Reiskin will take over for Ford.

“It’s a big world and I’m sure there lots of great people,” Metcalf said. “But in terms of someone who I would trust to take the reins of the MTA, I cannot think of anyone better than Ed Reiskin.”

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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