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Report: Duncan expresses interest in top Metro job

Doug Duncan.jpgFormer Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan's name has publicly surfaced as a candidate for the top Metro job after days of chatter around the State House and elsewhere in Maryland government.

The Associated Press reported over the weekend that Duncan (D), who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for governor in 2006, was calling around to let Maryland officials know of his interest. The AP cited two unnamed officials who said they had spoken to Duncan directly.

In a brief interview last week, Duncan declined to comment to our colleague Ann Scott Tyson, who is covering the nationwide search to replace John B. Catoe Jr. as general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, an agency beleaguered by funding shortfalls and safety lapses.

The agency is overseen by a board that is made up of four members each from Maryland, Virginia and the District. Four federal members are also being added, two of whom have already been appointed.

Among those saying Duncan is worthy of consideration is O'Malley.

"Doug Duncan is a talented and well-respected public administrator, and the governor thinks he would make a strong candidate for the board to consider," O'Malley spokesman Shaun Adamec told us.

Following his 12-year tenure in Montgomery County, Duncan worked for 17 months as chief administrative and finance officer at the University of Maryland at College Park. He then joined CivicUS, a government advisory firm, as a co-founder and senior vice president for research and business development.

By John Wagner  |  February 8, 2010; 10:40 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner , Montgomery County  
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As Montgomery County Chief Executive, Duncan pimped himself to the highest bidder -- which in his case happened to be the developer lobby. The developer lobby is implacably opposed to mass transit. What proof/assurances can Duncan offer that he won't be deliberately inefficient in a leadership role at WMATA?

Posted by: nbahn | February 8, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

As a county exec, he allowed the Montgomery County Public Works & Transportation Department, Ride-On, to keep a Ride-On driver who was CONVICTED of Child Molestation, against another Ride-On drivers 12 year old daughter.

Any administrator who knowingly allows a convicted child molester to keep his job, transporting children & others, doesn't deserve to be considered for a position as WMATA head.

Posted by: Robbnitafl | February 8, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I find it hard to beleive that this region can't do better than round up the usual suspects. Metro deserves a top quality executive who has management experience in running a large multi-jurisdiction transportation system. Duncan just does not qualify for such an important responsibility.The experience of the past few years shows evidence of significant deterioration in the system's rolling stock,facilities and procedures. The system needs an expert in transportation, not development.

Posted by: 15of18 | February 8, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

At least Catoe had experience running a bus system.

Posted by: ceebee2 | February 8, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

From talking to various county elected officials and county employees, I understand that Duncan is a main reason things are financially out of control in our County -- he made deals and promises so various groups would support his run for governor. We are still paying for his deals. And let's not forget, he received money via Jack Abramoff for his election campaigns. Let's hope WMATA doesn't conveniently forget that. We haven't.

Posted by: freestategal | February 8, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Guess he's abandoned any future elected official aspirations.

Posted by: unsuckdcmetro | February 8, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Fat Doug would be the worst possible choice because of his impaired judgment in important matters.

In case anyone forgets, Fat Dougie was the one who pimped and strongly supported the disastrous "Chief Moose"...whose incredible stupidity and blatant racism prolonged the capture of the DC snipers and resulted in several more deaths.

Posted by: checkered1 | February 8, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

What experience has Douglas M. Duncan had that would remotely qualify him to run a transit system. If Mr Catoe, with his years of running a bus/rail transit system and just voted the top transit administrator in the country, can't turn Metro around just what makes Mr Duncan think he can?

Posted by: Jimof1913 | February 8, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Too bad Metro has declined to the point where it is just a center for political patronage. Metro needs a real professional transit person not a political has been.

Posted by: VikingRider | February 8, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Metro needs military brass.

Posted by: 123cartoon | February 9, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

The prior post by VikingRider is dead-on correct.

But I will take this opportunity to elaborate.

Regardless of anyone's opinions of Doug Duncan and his tenure as MC Executive, he has absolutely no, zero, nada, experience in managing a transit system, much less a multi-jurisidictional transit system with so many problems that have surfaced of late.

If Duncan is even marginally considered for such a position, then it would stand as stark and unmitigated proof of a politically-connected network-- experience and qualifications be damned.

And, I suppose, in that respect, the functioning of the system and the safety of its passengers be damned as well.

Today, Metro's safety record per passenger mile stands at about the worst in the country. The last thing it needs is a career politician/bureaucrat as a general manager.

I submit what it needs is a hands-on manager who is already proven to be intimately familiar with all aspects of a rail and bus system.

Bottom line-- Duncan no more fills that bill than perhaps any other person on the street.

My thoughts.

Posted by: LAWPOOL | February 9, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

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