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D.C. Metro System General Manager John. B. Catoe Jr. to resign effective April 2

*Complete coverage of John B. Catoe Jr.'s resignation as the general manager of Metro*

Update (1:45 p.m.): Catoe announced his intentions to resign, effective April 2, after a special board meeting Thursday. He said he realized that the tragedies at Metro in the last year had created "an unhealthy distraction" and that good leaders should know when it is time for a leadership change.

He said his resignation would provide the opportunity for the agency to "move beyond distractions."

Metro board chair Jim Graham thanked Catoe for his work and said the board had been informed of the decision Thursday. "We have full confidence in your ability to continue until April," Graham said.

"We recognize this is a choice that you have made," Graham added. The board will begin searching for a replacement.

Catoe's resignation comes as the Metro system faces criticism from federal lawmakers about lapses in safety federal oversight. Last year was an unprecedented year of tragedy in the Metro system. Nine people died, including a train operator, and scores were injured in a June 22 crash on the Red Line. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident and has scheduled public hearings into the crash for Feb. 23 and 24.

Two additional workers also died in accidents last year. A Metro worker was struck and killed by a piece of track equipment on the Orange Line on Aug. 9, and a worker was fatally injured by a train between the Braddock Road and Reagan National Airport stations Sept. 10.

The agency also faces a $40 million budget shortfall in the current fiscal year and a $175 million budget gap in the fiscal year beginning July 1. Metro officials have blamed the worsening financial picture on a decline in ridership.

Catoe, the son of a taxi driver, is a D.C. native who grew up in public housing complexes in Northeast and Southeast Washington and graduated from Spingarn Senior High School. He became Metro's general manager in January 2007 2006 and had been deputy chief executive of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the nation's third-largest public transportation system.

Update (1:20 p.m.): The resignation will take effect April 2, Catoe told members of the Metro board.

Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. is resigning as head of the transit agency, according to Jeff McKay, a member of the Metro board, which hires and fires the general manager.

-- Lena H. Sun

By Michael Bolden  |  January 14, 2010; 12:59 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Metro, WMATA  
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Next: D.C. Metro General Manager announces his resignation


Good bye. I'm sure he'll walk away with a heafty sum of money.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 14, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

See ya Metro GM Catoe! Don't let the Red Line hit you in the ass on your way out!

Posted by: dedlinetosilverspring | January 14, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"good leaders should know when it's time for a change" ... is Catoe trying to convince us that he's a good leader? They must be mixing some powerful kool-aid over at the metro office.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | January 14, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance! Metro has become a farce under his "leadership."

Posted by: Aerowaz | January 14, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Impossible to tell if this makes a difference or not... metro has been terrible the past few years, but has been in a steady decline for over a decade. Bad leadership or bad timing... guess we'll see with the next GM.

Posted by: TheGJ | January 14, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Metro was a farce before his leadership, he got hit by a train he couldn't stop.

Posted by: contrarian4 | January 14, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Not soon enough! Good riddance. Don't let the train hit you, Mr. Catoe on your behid!

Posted by: veloboldie | January 14, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Shame that he didn't resign BEFORE he won the award for Transit GM of the year.

Maybe now, WMATA can get a top knotch Transit Administrator to run the Bus/Rail/Paratransit system of the Washington DC region.

Posted by: Robbnitafl | January 14, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Frankly he should've been fired. Now he gets to keep all those comfy benes he earned.

Posted by: bumperhead | January 14, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Next to go should be Jim Graham, who blames everybody and everything except himself for MetroFAIL's problems.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | January 14, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

i win! graham, you're next!

bout time. thanks for the support on this one dr. g, real responsible position for the post to take keeping him and extending his contract,

so how much of that extension does he get to walk away with and will the board seek those irresponsibly awarded dollars back?

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | January 14, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I think Catoe was hit with a case of "back luck" and this is not to say that he is scar free from some of the safety incidents that occurred. But, some of the events were not of his making... some trains should have been replaced before he took the reins of leadership. Within departments, some supervisors were negligent in enforcing correct professional behavior while working on tracks. Too many employees in the last year lost their lives to negligence...

I wish him the best of luck... in this atmosphere... "let me have your head..." I agree the numerous distractions were too much and making his job seem all the more weakened by various factions!

Posted by: periodot | January 14, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I think Mr. Catoe is a good man who worked with what he could. I think he had many people on Metro's staff working against him. There's only so much you can take. Metro has many problems and his job isn't an easy one. I wish him the best of luck finding a new position where he can affect change without so many roadblocks.

Posted by: dd421 | January 14, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that he sees the tragedies as a distraction. They were actually the point; shouldn't safety and public confidence be the top goals of the GM?

Posted by: LCFC | January 14, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse


Na, na, na, na...
na, na, na, na...

See you in LA Catoe!!!!

Posted by: cbmuzik | January 14, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Now, if the voters in DC Ward One will just get rid of Jim Graham in this year's election, we will have new leadership at WMATA and can begin to build a world-class system that provides safe, reliable, around-the-clock mass transportation for our fast-growing and expanding metropolitan area.

Posted by: tlc20011 | January 14, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Jim Zorn for metro GM!!! He has proven experience in getting a group of people to go nowhere!

Posted by: justanotherguy | January 14, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Wanna close the budget deficit? Cut the board's salaries.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | January 14, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Catoe, when people point there finger at you remember (Judge not that they may be Judged). Also remember that NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST YOU SHALL PROSPER, EVERY TONGUE THAT RISE AGAINST YOU IN JUDGEMENT GOD SHALL CONDEMN. ALSO YE WITH OUT SIN PLEASE CAST THE FIRST STONE.

Linda Smith
Fort Washington Maryland

Posted by: LindaSmith1 | January 14, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

anyone else want to sue him in a class action to recover the contract extension salary and benefits?

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | January 14, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

This is how I felt when Vinny Cerrato resigned.

Posted by: parisa1 | January 14, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance. It took the deaths of nine persons before anyone at Metro began to rise from the slumber of mediocrity.

Posted by: Patriciadc1 | January 14, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance.

Posted by: MACCHAMPS04 | January 14, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Bad timing. A few weeks ago, he might have ended up coaching the Redskins.

Posted by: zippyspeed | January 14, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Let's have the Army take over and make Metro work.

Posted by: member5 | January 14, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

It is a shame Catoe is held accountable for all the ills of Metro.

There are 2 things that DC suffers from, a high-quality superintendant and some one to run Metro. DC spends way too much time FIRING folks when they should be getting down to the issue of failures.

I have been riding METRO for years and I do not have one NEGATIVE thing to say about METRO. METRO has been good to me for many years and I look forward for many more to come.

Posted by: K2007 | January 14, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't see how he can prevent suicide jumpers. I don't understand why negligent drivers/workers have routinely been tolerated by the Agency (long before Catoe arrived), not sure how he could have repaired the crumbling tracks in his short tenure fast enough and kept Metro open til 2a every nite.

While Catoe is not blameless, it seems like more is going on than just his management; seems like some systemic apathy needs to be eradicated.

Just HOW to do it is the question...

Posted by: kahlua87 | January 14, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Metro has been in trouble long before he became GM. Why is it that Ms. Sun ALWAYS says "he was the son of a cab driver ....and lived in public housing projects in northeast and southeast" its as if shes handing out a put down and being racist, especially when this type of information was never given to the public about other Metro GMs. Perhaps she came in with the Vietnamese boat people and needs to cover her behind so she won't be looked down upon as a fluke of success to be tried in the press. Also, the people posting on here are prejudiced as I have never seen this level of negativity towards another Metro GM. And, being a DC native, I know Mr. Catoe comes from a family of highly educated, successful people from many generations back.

Posted by: truthseeker101 | January 14, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I have been riding Metro's subway for almost 23 years. Used to be so much easier & smoother. Now every other day is an adventure. What will the problem be? Ride on Blue Line from Pentagon to Farragut West is usually slow. We crawl a few feet then stop for a minute. "There is a train in front of us" says the driver. Really. You don't say. Then the inevitable heartfelt "we regret the (DAILY) inconvenience & appreciate your patience." In other words, if you don't like it, walk, cycle or drive your, heh heh, car to work, suckers.

Posted by: uncivil | January 14, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance. Should have been fired.

Posted by: justin032 | January 14, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Time for the Metro Board to do the same...

Posted by: cbjornson | January 14, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

He was terrible - don't let the door hit you on the way out.

I'm sure he'll get an undeserved lump sum of money on his way out.

Posted by: NoVAredsox | January 14, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure this is all his fault but it is better to get out before they throw you out. I think Metro has bigger problems than John Catoe.
I don't blame him since the crap that Metro is experiencing is going to happen.. you should really blame some the long term bad employees of Metro... not some new chief-of-the-day... the next turkey in the that position needs to kick-ass and send some folks home, serve not that B-S will not be tolerated.

Posted by: Tobor58 | January 14, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

All of you Catoe gotta go Critics, should realize that the crumbling of Metro has been been a snowball rolling down the hill for awhile.

Whoever is next will have to deal with the same BS as will the next person.

Good Luck WMATA, Get it together

Posted by: joebananas1 | January 14, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was hard to know he was even there or could even spell safety!

Posted by: Lightning2 | January 14, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Gee, I thought the Senator was running the trains!

Posted by: Lightning2 | January 14, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Now many know why Metro Rail Safety didn't want the inspectors in the tunnels, it's really unsafe guys! Flat against the wall or in a crossover during a pass! Class room training is not the answer, you must be out there & know where you can be & not be during a consist pass.

Posted by: Lightning2 | January 14, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

John Catoe and the WMATA Board members deserve to be struck and killed by trains or buses. May they all die bloody and painful deaths, and may they drown in the blood of those innocent Metro employees and passengers they murdered in 2009.

Posted by: pat1425 | January 14, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

The criticisms are such an easy way out - you're not heroes - so what now - just another guy or gal who has their hands tied behind their backs. Why doesn't anyone acknowledge that we need MONEY to make the kind of safety improvements (and, yes, just general upgrades) that must be made? The money isn't there to make the kinds of changes that need to made. So, get the most impressive person on the planet to run everything, but we'll have solved nothing until we have the money to fix what needs to be fixed. This wing flapping gets you noticed, but it doesn't get anything done.

Posted by: HaleRut | January 15, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

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