Photo by tracktwentynine on Flickr.

Kytja Weir of the Examiner is reporting that WMATA has reached a final decision in its search for a new General Manager. Adam Tuss of WTOP is speculating that Richard Sarles has been selected to continue leading the transit authority on a permanent basis.

Shortly after John Catoe resigned in April of 2010, Sarles took over as interim General Manager. His tenure thus far has been mixed, with WMATA making significant commitments to upgrading its deteriorating track safety infrastructure, but also failing to prioritize many safety and security concerns, instead reacting to NTSB criticism and highly visible incidents.

Sarles has also been a major force behind the implementation of the random bag searches that began in the end of the 2010 and that we have argued are ineffective, wasteful, and possibly unconstitutional. His lack of concern about the public outcry against them is also troubling.

Whoever Metro picks, it’s important that they have the vision necessary to lead the agency into the next decade. A time likely to be marked by an increase in crowding, continued tight budgets, and the need to plan for new core infrastructure. But foremost, the new Manager must be someone who can change the culture at Metro.

The final vote will be by the full Board at their meeting on January 27. It is unclear when Metro will announce who has been selected.