Leadership turnover at the California High-Speed Rail Authority could signal shakeup

By Ralph Vartabedian : latimes – excerpt

The organizational chart of top management at California’s bullet train authority disappeared from the agency’s website about three months ago, sending what now seems like a sign of impending shakeup.

Chief Executive Jeff Morales announced his departure on April 21 in a letter sent to Gov. Jerry Brown and the rail authority. Late last year, the senor deputy officer left, and before that the chief administrator and the computer systems director said goodbye.

A leadership exodus has also roiled the authority’s corporate “rail delivery partner,” Parsons Brinckerhoff, which makes many of the day-to-day engineering and construction decisions in the effort to build a high speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and is critical to the bullet train project’s success or failure.

Gary Griggs, the company’s top executive on the California project who has worked on BART, the San Francisco subway, and the Taiwan bullet train, quietly announced his retirement recently. Griggs was preceded by Tony Daniels, Hans Van Winkle, Brent Felker and Jim Van Epps — all since about 2012. A deputy, Gay Knipper, was just let go as well.

It adds up to a senior management upheaval at a time when the rail authority is wrestling with construction falling behind schedule, cost estimates heading higher and a hostile wind blowing from the Trump administration…

“”As long as Dan Richard is at the helm and Mike Rossi oversees finance, then you are in good shape.” Thea Selby, former rail authority board member…

“When you have a large infeasible project, it is better to not be in the room when it comes to a halt.” — James Moore, Viterbi School of Engineering, USC…(more)

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