A new year and a new board for Capital Metro

It’s 2010 already and the new year means a new board for Capital Metro. As many of you probably know, legislation passed this session changed the size and composition of our board and tomorrow, the new board will be sworn in.

Previously, the agency was lead by seven board members. Beginning in January, we’ll have eight members at the helm, or rather, behind the wheel.

Of those eight, three will be returning members:

  • Austin Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez, who was appointed by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO);
  • Austin Council Member Chris Riley, who was appointed by the City of Austin; and
  • Leander Mayor John Cowman, who was appointed by the small cities within Capital Metro’s service area.

The remaining five will all be new. They are

  • John Langmore, also appointed by CAMPO;
  • Frank Fernandez, appointed by CAMPO;
  • Beverly Silas, appointed by Travis County;
  • Norm Chafetz, appointed by Williamson County; and
  • Ann Stafford, appointed by the City of Austin.

Some of you may see that we have a lot fewer elected officials now. Previously, five of our seven board members were required to be elected officials. Now, only three electeds are required. Populating the board with ‘regular citizens’ actually makes the board more like it was prior to its reconstitution in 1997. At that time, a bill was passed that added the elected officials (and created the composition currently in place today) but as is often the case, I guess it is time for the pendulum to swing back. There are valid pros and cons to both sides so we’ll just have to see how it all works out.

The other significant change to our board composition—other than the addition of an eighth member, which works out to be an additional member appointed by CAMPO—is the requirement for certain types of experience on the board, specifically for the CAMPO board members. To fulfill this, John Langmore was appointed as an individual with the requisite ten years of professional experience in executive-level management, and Frank Fernandez was appointed as the individual with the requisite ten years of professional experience in finance and accounting.

While I will miss our former board members (particularly former Austin Mayor Pro Tem John Treviño, who I loved to hear stories and lessons about old Austin from), I am excited about the new board members who have been appointed. (I just wish we could fast-forward the clock six months if not a year from now because this period of transition is beginning to feel interminably long.) Not unsurprisingly, some of them have already hit the ground running and have begun to build upon their existing knowledge base of Capital Metro in an effort to represent us well and advocate for our agency. It’s very encouraging.

So, here’s to our board members—old and new—and to a new year. May Capital Metro begin to write more success stories in the future.

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