Highway administrator picked as interim replacement for transit boss criticized in snowstorms



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BOSTON — An interim leader has been picked for the city's public transit system after its general manager resigned this month amid heavy criticism and commuter frustration over service disruptions during a series of major snowstorms.

State Department of Transportation highway administrator and chief operating officer Frank DePaola will be the MBTA's interim general manager, the state transportation board said on Wednesday. The board voted unanimously to have him step into the position, replacing MBTA general manager Beverly Scott, on March 4.

Scott has said she would stay on at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority until April 11 to ensure a smooth transition.

Scott announced her resignation Feb. 11 as the MBTA, which has stations throughout the greater Boston area and serves millions of customers a week, struggled to maintain service during a spate of storms that dumped more than 7 feet of snow on the region. Those snows caused massive delays and prompted the MBTA to shut down subway and commuter rail service three days over the past month.

The state's secretary of transportation, Stephanie Pollack, heaped praise on DePaola, who previously served as an MBTA assistant general manager.

"With the depth and breadth of Frank's experience as an engineer, a manager and a problem-solver, I have full confidence that he has the skill sets and capabilities to serve as interim general manager," Pollack said.

DePaola said he was excited by the new challenge and for the opportunity to help in the search for the "root cause of the issues our transit system faces."

Scott said she looked forward to working with DePaola during the transition period.

"I can leave this job I've loved, knowing that MBTA customers as well as employees are in very capable hands," Scott said.

DePaola served as MBTA assistant general manager for design and construction until April 2011, when he was named the Massachusetts Department of Transportation's highway administrator, responsible for operations, maintenance and capital investments in the state highway system.

In November 2014, he was named acting secretary of MassDOT until Jan. 13, 2015, when Gov. Charlie Baker named Pollack the secretary and chief executive officer.

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