Carter Rohan, Muni’s second-in-command and a top contender to replace departing chief Nathaniel Ford, submitted his own resignation Tuesday.
Citing personal and health reasons, Rohan will step down from the agency July 22, roughly three weeks after taking over from Ford as executive director on an interim basis. Rohan and Ed Reiskin, director of the Department of Public Works, were believed to be the top contenders to replace Ford.
Rohan joined the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency in March 2006 and spent the first five years with the agency as its capital programs director, notably taking the lead on the $1.6 billion Central Subway project. Earlier this year, his title was changed to executive deputy director, an indication he might succeed Ford one day.
Rohan said his decision had nothing to do with Ford’s departure. He said he wants to spend more time with family and address some recent health problems.
"I spoke to [SFMTA board Chairman] Tom Nolan last week and told him I didn’t know if I could give 110 percent to the agency," Rohan said. "And we need someone who can make that commitment."
Nolan said Tuesday that Rohan will act as the interim director from July 1 to 22. The seven-person SFMTA board of directors could not discuss possible successors at its meeting because the item wasn’t on Tuesday’s agenda.
The agency’s board said it would consider applications from other national transit figures until July 1.
Executive Director Gabriel Metcalf of SPUR, a think tank that specializes in transit issues, said Reiskin is likely to get the job.
"It’s a big world, and I’m sure there are lots of great people," Metcalf said. "But in terms of someone who I would trust to take the reins of the MTA, I cannot think of anyone better than Ed Reiskin."
Tom Radulovich, executive director of local transit advocacy organization Livable Cities, said the executive director position at the SFMTA is "Ed’s if he wants it."
Reiskin declined to comment Tuesday on the job opening.
On Tuesday, the SFMTA’s board approved Ford’s $384,000 severance package. Unlike Ford, who was approached by directors and asked to leave, Rohan is stepping down on his own volition. He will not receive a financial package for his departure, SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said.