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L.A. Metro's Washington names new executive staff members

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Chief Executive Officer Philip Washington on Friday announced six new executive-level appointments.

Washington, who was appointed the head of Metro in March, made the appointments to bolster the agency's regional mobility agenda, Metro officials said in a press release.

Washington hired Interim Deputy Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Wiggins to the same position in a permanent capacity. She previously served as the agency's executive director of vendor/contract management, and has 21 years of experience in the transportation industry, including a stint as regional programs director for the Riverside County Transportation Commission.

Additionally, Richard Clark was appointed executive director of Metro Program Management, which oversees engineering and construction. He has 35 years of transportation experience, including work on large projects at MTA Long Island Rail Road, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transportation Authority and Dallas Area Rapid Transit.

Washington also appointed James Gallagher chief operations officer and Pauletta Tonilas chief communications officer. Gallagher previously served as chief toll operations officer in Irvine, Calif., while Tonilas worked as a public information officer in Englewood, Colo.

Finally, Washington named Elba Higueros chief policy officer and Alex Wiggins the agency's new executive director of security. Higueros will provide support and manage communications between Washington, the board and their staffs, while Wiggins will oversee the agency's $100 million contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and streamline safety efforts, Metro officials.

Meanwhile, the agency also realigned its asset management department into the newly created risk/safety and asset management department. The move "emphasizes independent decision making regarding schedules to bring vehicles out of service for maintenance at predicted intervals," Metro officials said.

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More News from 8/17/2015