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BART likely to name new general manager at special meeting Wednesday | Will Reisman | Local on Astini News

After a tumultuous four months without a fulltime leader, BART's board is expected to name a new general manager today.

Grace Crunican, former chief of the Seattle Department of Transportation and a deputy administrator of the Federal Transit Administration under President Bill Clinton, is expected to be named general manager in a special board meeting.

Although few board members have publicly discussed Crunican, Director Joel Keller recently identified her as the likely choice.

BART President Bob Franklin, who called today's meeting, said there was no guarantee a new chief will be named today.

However, Director Tom Radulovich said, "I think we'll vote for the person everyone expects it to be."

BART has lacked a full-time manager since April 22, when Dorothy Dugger was ousted by a sharply divided board. During the intervening months, the agency has been led by interim General Manager Sherwood Wakeman, a former BART general counsel.

Since Dugger's ouster, the transit agency has weathered a storm of controversy stemming from the fatal July 3 BART police shooting of a 45-year-old homeless man who was allegedly wielding a knife and bottle.

Civil-rights activists condemned the shooting, and BART garnered further criticism when it decided to shut off cellphone service in its downtown stations to prevent a planned protest. The agency has since caught flak from commuters for closing down transit stations during commute times as a way to deal with the protest events.

Crunican, now a transportation consultant, stepped down from her Seattle post in 2008 after drawing heat for the department's response to a two-week snowstorm that crippled the city.

However, during her tenure under Clinton, Crunican worked at the Federal Transit Administration, which awards federal transportation funding — experience is seen as useful for BART in an era of diminishing government funding.

Staff Writer Amy Crawford contribute to this report.

Seattle Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration

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