The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority board has authorized board chair Charles Griffith to appoint an ad hoc subcommittee to conduct a search for a replacement for outgoing CEO Michael Ford.
Ford will depart the AAATA in mid-October to take the post as the first CEO of the southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority (RTA). Ford formally tendered his resignation on Aug. 21, 2014.
The resolution approved by the board at its Aug. 21 meeting also approves $50,000 for consulting services to help with the search. At the Aug. 21 meeting, Griffith said the committee will consist of himself, Anya Dale, Gillian Ream Gainsley and Eric Mahler. Griffith said he hoped that a search could be completed within three months, but allowed that might not be achievable. He said he hoped an RFP (request for proposals) for a search firm could be sent out the next day. He felt that the search firm could help the board establish realistic expectations about a timeframe for a new hire.
Ford was picked for the job as CEO of the Regional Transit Authority three months ago, on May 21, 2014. The RTA board approved Ford’s contract on Aug. 20, 2014. Ford’s announcement as a finalist and his selection for the RTA job came amid the AAATA’s successful campaign for a new millage to fund additional transportation services in the geographic area of the member jurisdictions of the AAATA – the city of Ann Arbor, the city of Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township. That millage was approved by voters on May 6, 2014.
The four-county area of the RTA includes the counties of Washtenaw, Wayne, Macomb and Oakland as well as the city of Detroit. It was established by the Michigan legislature in late 2012.
The RTA’s hiring of a CEO has been frustrated by a lack of state funding. John Hertel, general manager of SMART (Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation), was appointed CEO by the RTA board last year, but he eventually left the post in early 2014 over issues of funding availability.
Ford was hired by the AAATA in 2009. He began the Aug. 21 meeting by thanking the board, his executive staff, the AAATA operators and mechanics, and the staff of the entire organization.
This brief was filed from the AAATA headquarters building at 2700 S. Industrial Highway, where the board held its Aug. 21 meeting – due to the closure of its regular meeting location at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library. The library building was closed to due to the repair of the public elevator.