BART moves spokesman Linton Johnson to a new position

Linton Johnson (Examiner file photo)Linton Johnson (Examiner file photo)

Linton Johnson (Examiner file photo)Linton Johnson (Examiner file photo)

Linton Johnson, the embattled BART spokesman who faced national scrutiny over his role in the agency’s decision to thwart a protest by shutting down cellphone service, will no longer be the chief communications officer for the transit agency.

On Monday, BART announced a restructuring of its communications department that will result in Johnson — the longtime face of the agency — working in a behind-the-scenes role.

Johnson formulated the idea to shut down cellphone service in BART stations Aug. 11. As a result of that move, Johnson endured personal attacks from “hacktivists,” who posted partially nude photos purporting to be him. Johnson has been on leave since.

Along with his role in the cellphone shutdown decision, Johnson also received criticism for his plan to bus in pro-agency speakers to a news conference, where the supporters were supposed to denounce BART protesters.

Johnson will now be employed as the agency’s strategic program manager for external affairs. His duties will include developing large-scale communication strategies for major BART initiatives such as the agency’s rail-car replacement program and its Clipper card implementation plans.

BART board President Bob Franklin said that he was told by the agency’s management — led by new chief Grace Crunican — that the decision to reassign Johnson was mutual.

“No one is perfect, and everyone has made mistakes,” Franklin said. “I don’t think that Linton is being punished for how things went.”

However, Johnson, who found out about his reassignment Monday morning, did not seem happy with his new role.

“They’re telling me that I no longer speak for the district,” Johnson said. “If you want answers, you’ll have to go to the communications department that I built.”

Johnson, a former television reporter, joined the agency in 2004 as its chief communications officer.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocalSan Franciscotransportation

Just Posted

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler, pictured in July at Oracle Park, says team members simultaneously can be “measured and calm” and “looking to push the accelerator.” (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
How Gabe Kapler sets the tone for Giants’ success with strategy, mindset

‘There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the hands-down manager of the year’

Artist Agnieszka Pilat, pictured with Spot the Robot Dog from Boston Robotics, has a gallery show opening at Modernism. (Courtesy Agnieszka Pilat)
Screenshots of VCs, Kanye and tech parties by the Bay

In this week’s roundup, Ben Horowitz’s surprising hip-hop knowledge and the chic tech crowd at Shack15

If he secured a full term in the Senate, Newsom would become the most powerful Californian Democrat since Phil Burton at the height of his career, or maybe ever. <ins>(Kevin Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Firefighters extinguish burning material near Lake Tahoe on Sept. 3 in the wake of the Caldor Fire; environmental scientists say the huge fire is bringing to light deficiencies in forest management. <ins>(Max Whittaker/New York Times)</ins>
Cal Fire, timber industry must face an inconvenient truth

We are logging further into the wildfire and climate crisis

Speaker of the Parliament of Mongolia Gombojav Zandanshatar said his country and San Francisco face similar challenges on issues including COVID recovery and climate change.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Mongolian leaders meet with tech, film leaders on city tour

‘I really want San Franciscans to meet the new Mongolian generation’

Most Read