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Douglaston’s Sander steps down as MTA chief

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Elliot “Lee” Sander of Douglaston, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has resigned after Gov. David Paterson vowed to conduct a house cleaning of the MTA’s leadership.

Sander, who was  appointed by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer in January 2007, said he would leave his job May 22.

A longtime professional in the field of mass transit, Sander said he understood that governors, presidents and the like prefer to have people they are comfortable with in office.

But he called heading the MTA “my dream job.”

Paterson had previously criticized the MTA and said, “We’re going to have a widespread cleanup and clean-out of the MTA and start getting this place working in an effective way.”

Some opponents of the MTA blamed its management for the agency’s worsening financial condition, although most of it was inherited by its present leaders.

Sander resigned a day after the New York state legislature’s approval of a financial rescue plan for the MTA, which had planned large fare raises and severe service reductions if no bailout was forthcoming.

The status of MTA chairman Dale Hemmerdinger — whose job, unlike that of Sander, is unpaid — remained unclear Friday morning.

Paterson has said both jobs should be combined in one position.

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith (D-St. Albans), in announcing passage of the MTA rescue plan, accused the MTA of waste and called it a “mess.”

Posted 6:33 pm, October 10, 2011
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