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It’s just after 5:30, which means the afternoon rush hour in D.C. is well underway. It also means that Paul J. Wiedefeld is at the end of his first day on the job as Metro’s new general manager and CEO, a position Metro’s board formally appointed him to on Nov. 17.
So what exactly will Wiedefeld be doing at Metro’s headquarters near Gallery Place in the next few days? Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel helped answer that question in a brief email to City Desk earlier this afternoon:
“As you might imagine, the GM will spend much of his time this week learning more about Metro and meeting the workforce. Today, for example, Mr. Wiedefeld is conducting transition meetings with former Interim GM Jack Requa, meeting with rail employees, and touring the control center. This week, he’ll also meet with his Chief Financial Officer on budget matters, get a briefing on the efficiency study that is underway, and continue his outreach to stakeholders. He’s said that he wants to spend as much time out of Metro HQ as possible—getting out on the system to meet with riders and employees whenever he can. Thursday is a Board Committee meeting day here at Metro HQ.”
Wiedefeld has also said that he has three main priorities for the agency: safety, reliability, and finances. “On safety, job one is talking with employees about safety and recruiting permanent Chief Safety Officer,” Stessel writes. “On reliability, it’s about getting the trains (and buses) to run on time, plain and simple.” To those ends, Wiedefeld plans to hold weekly meetings to drill down into “root causes.”
As for outgoing GM Requa? “He and Mr. Wiedefeld had a productive, two-hour transition meeting today—and that’s a process that can be expected to continue for the next several days and weeks,” says Stessel. “Mr. Wiedefeld has described Jack as a ‘fantastic resource.'”
Wiedefeld certainly has a lot of work ahead of him: Customer satisfaction on Metorail is down 10 percentage points over last year alone.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery