CA: Now Muni's No. 2 Exec is Quitting

Carter Rohan, second in command at the Municipal Transportation Agency, resigned Tuesday, less than a week after it was announced that his boss, Nathaniel Ford, would be leaving.

Rohan, who has held the title deputy executive director since January, said his resignation will take effect July 23; Ford, whose departure was prodded by the agency's board of directors, is set to leave at the end of June.

On Tuesday, the directors approved a controversial $384,000 exit deal for Ford. Rohan will become acting executive director July 1 until July 22. The board declined to name a permanent successor to Ford.

Rohan, who followed Ford to San Francisco in early 2006 after they worked together at the Atlanta transit agency, said he is resigning for personal reasons.

Rohan was in contention to replace Ford as head of San Francisco's 5,000-employee transportation agency that oversees the city's transit, parking, pedestrian, bike and taxi operations. But he would have had to beat out city public works chief Ed Reiskin - said by City Hall insiders to be Mayor Ed Lee's top choice - for the job. The board of directors, not the mayor, gets to make the pick.

Rohan initially was hired to head the transportation agency's capital projects. He ushered through the T-Third light-rail extension and has been crucial in pushing forward the Central Subway project.

Rohan said he is committed to helping the agency transition to a new administration. "I don't want to hurt the agency," he said. "I want to help the agency."

- Rachel Gordon

New park: Here's another thing that sets San Francisco apart from other locales: Every now and then people say nice things about city staff.

"Bureaucracy is not a bad word," Karen Kidwell assured a cluster of Bernal Heights residents at Tuesday's opening of Vista Pointe Garden, the city's newest park. "We work well with government."

Kidwell is executive director of San Francisco Parks Trust, a nonprofit that since 2004 has worked with the Department of Public Works to turn more than 100 slivers of excess right-of-way into landscaped spaces offering public access or visual relief.

Vista Pointe may be the most ambitious of the lot: the space includes five terraced levels sloping down from Bernal Heights Park at Bradford Street. The upper level sports a granite bench that in its prior life was a curb - it's cozier than it sounds - and the northward downtown view lives up to the Vista Pointe name.

Public Works poured the concrete walkway leading to the bench. Contractors built the retaining walls. Volunteers organized by Friends of Bernal Gardens did the planting and will provide upkeep. Total cost: a bargain-priced $50,000.

- John King

The Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 Tuesday against extending a program that allows police officers eligible for retirement to stay on the payroll and bank their pension benefits at the same time.

The Deferred Retirement Option Program, or DROP, approved by voters in 2008, was supposed to be cost-neutral. But the city controller found that extending the program past the initial three years that voters approved would cost about $6 million a year.

It now is set to expire at the end of the month, and the politically powerful Police Officers Association said that without the DROP program, the Police Department soon would face a shortage of officers due to retirements.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who is running for sheriff in the November election, cast the only vote in favor of extending DROP for a year to give city officials more time to further study its fiscal impact and to keep the police force fully staffed.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd called Mirkarimi's position "irresponsible" and said all the numbers have been crunched, making it clear that the program costs money at a time when the city is looking to rein in pension and other labor costs.

- Rachel Gordon

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