[UPDATE 9:36 am: McGinn staffer Aaron Pickus says McGinn would “like to see Mike O’Brien on the Sound Transit board because he knows transportation issues as much as anyone. Saying that, the mayor-elect thinks that the mayor of Seattle needs to serve on this board and plans to do so.”]
[UPDATE: For a more thorough breakdown of coming changes to the Sound Transit board, Andrew Villeneuve has the goods.]
Publicola reports that Seattle’s Mayor-elect Mike McGinn may skip taking a role on the Sound Transit board, instead giving his support to incoming city councilmember Mike O’Brien for the position. Richard Conlin, the city council president, plans to remain on the Sound Transit board. The Sound Transit board is the group of elected officials that makes most major and financial decisions for the agency.
O’Brien would be filling Mayor Nickels’ seat on the ST board. Nickels lost his bid for a third term in the August primary and is currently the chair of ST board.
O’Brien’s financial background (he has an MBA from UW) could be a strong asset on a board looking to scrounge every dollar from the projected revenue shortfalls affecting the Sound Transit 2 expansion plans approved during the worst recession in a generation.
O’Brien and McGinn have a close relationship after working together in a private law firm as well as the Sierra Club and it’s possible the Mayor-elect’s priorities could come through an O’Brien seat. (Publicola has a great article on their relationship.)
Seattle Transit Blog endorsed Mike O’Brien for office, in part for his honest and strong advocacy for transit. He’s a charismatic spokesman for the promise of mass transit and we’d be happy to see him serve on the board.