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St. Louis Metro retains Baer as CEO; WMATA extends GM Catoe's contract


On Friday, St. Louis’ Metro announced its board reached an agreement with Bob Baer to become the agency’s president and chief executive officer.

During the past 22 months, he has served as interim president and CEO, helping Metro through a period of operational cuts and service restoration, said Chairman Jeffrey Watson in a prepared statement. Baer also was responsible for an initiative that resulted in an “unprecedented” $12 million emergency appropriation from the state of Missouri, said Watson.

Baer previously served as executive director of Metro parent the Bi-State Development Agency from 1974 to 1977. Between 1977 and 2007, he headed United Van Lines and served as president and CEO of UniGroup Inc., the holding company of United Van Lines and Mayflower Transit.

Meanwhile, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) last week announced it’s also retaining its top executive. WMATA’s board extended General Manager John Catoe’s contract by three years, keeping him at the helm of nation’s fourth-largest transit agency until Jan. 29, 2013.

GM since January 2007, Catoe will continue to earn $315,000 annually and receive a $5,000 monthly housing allowance under the new contract. Last year, he declined to accept a 3 percent annual salary increase because WMATA was facing layoffs.

During his tenure, Catoe has focused on overhauling the transit system with the goal of operating efficiency and cost containment. He launched an organization-wide safety improvement program within days of taking office. Catoe also made operational cuts and instituted program changes that avoided a fare increase in 2007, yielded $34 million in savings, and balanced the FY2008 and FY2009 budgets, which originally had projected shortfalls exceeding $100 million, WMATA officials said.

However, Catoe also has presided over the agency’s worst accident, which occurred on June 22, and several fatalities this past summer.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/28/2009