Overhaul of Metro-North management necessary

To the Editor:

The resignation of Mr. [Howard] Permut, CEO of Metro-North comes at the right time. Whether the Board of Directors encouraged this change or not, the recent history of Metro-North’s fatal accidents causing loss of life and serious injuries to many passengers, certainly demanded consequences at top management level.

A long list of infractions by personnel, operational as well as administrative and maintenance, suggests that effective supervision of all operations had been inadequate for quite a while already.

From a managerial point of view, this comes close to dereliction of duty on several levels of the operation and means that the current corporate structure may need to be thoroughly refreshed, thereby eliminating the causes of the unacceptable recent operating style and condition. What’s more important though is the fact that the current organization may be incapable of correcting its own corporate culture, as well as its actual operational competence and discipline.

I would really prefer to see a qualified group of outside specialists take a very active part in aiding the company and its new management to achieve a really professional approach to running their railroad. Just shuffling a few people around won’t do it in my view, and should not be accepted by the organizations that represent the people who ride Metro-North trains.

This does not mean that the government should, in some form or other, try to run the railroad. But it has a right to insist that the modernization and rejuvenation of Metro-North is handled and supervised by operational and technical specialists, over a period of time to accomplish this difficult task and get this important regional railroad back in shape.


Frederik Engel


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