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Sound Transit personnel shake-ups may be settling down


Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority has dealt with its share of personnel shake-ups, including resignations of Director of Light Rail Programs Paul Bay in November, and Sound Transit Executive Director Bob White in early January.

Although Tuck Wilson stepped into Bay’s post as interim director with the understanding that term would expire this September, Sound Transit June 5 announced that Ahmad Fazel, deputy project director for Link light rail, will take over the interim director slot at the end of June, at which time Wilson will resume his advisory role as project consultant.

Meanwhile, following White’s departure, Chief Operating Officer Joni Earl took the reins as interim executive director. Now it appears as though her short stint as interim top dog is coming to a close.

The board’s search committee June 1 selected five potential finalists to fill the executive-director seat. Although names were not yet released, candidates choosing to continue the process are expected to be in Seattle June 8 and 9 for orientation and final interviews.

The full board plans to meet June 12 to consider the committee’s recommendation and appoint a permanent director.

Almost as soon as that person is named, the board plans to meet again on June 14 and 28 to make initial decisions regarding the future of the oft-under-attack Central Link Light Rail Project.

"With the Sound Transit board expected on June 28th to sharpen its focus on options for Link, we agreed that would be the perfect time for [Wilson] to step back into his consultant’s role," said Earl in a prepared statement.

During the past six months, Wilson reorganized the light rail department. In the course of that process, Fazel began to stand out as a likely choice to oversee Link’s next development phase.

"I couldn’t leave Link light rail in better hands," said Wilson. "He’s got the experience, the acumen and the skills to carry out the board’s program."

Fazel joined Sound Transit last fall and was promoted to deputy director of Link early this year. Prior to that, he served Denver’s Regional Transportation District as project director of planning and development. There, he opened two light rail corridors on time — one under budget.

Fazel also worked as systems engineer for Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District for Oregon’s Westside light-rail project.