SFMTA board seats in question 

As the San Francisco 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 Jr., the two longest-serving members of the board of directors, officially ended Monday. Under Proposition E, the voter-backed initiative passed in 1999 that created the SFMTA, board members cannot serve more than three four-year terms.

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

Tony Winnicker, spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom, said the mayor is waiting to hear the city attorney’s ruling on Black and McCray’s eligibility before making a decision to replace or reappoint the directors. The two are the only members on the board not appointed by Newsom.

The City Attorney’s Office, citing attorney-client privileges, could not release any further information on its investigation.

Black — who’s the aunt of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer — said she has not been approached by Newsom about a reappointment, but is still very interested in continuing her position.

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

Under the City Charter, each director has a 30-day extension of their term following its official expiration, so Black and McCray can continue to serve until the end of March.

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


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Will Reisman

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