The Port Authority of Allegheny County’s Board of Directors today voted to hire Ellen McLean as CEO of the transit agency. McLean’s contract is effective February 1 and extends for three years, with options to extend the agreement for up to two additional years.
McLean currently is the Interim CEO and previously served as the Authority’s Chief Finance Officer.
“Ellen is the right person at the right time for Port Authority,” said Port Authority Chairman Bob Hurley. “Ellen’s financial expertise and ability to work collaboratively toward solutions has set her apart. It’s become abundantly clear over the past six months that she is the right person to lead Port Authority at this most critical time. We need a leader with sharp financial instincts to take full advantage of the public transportation funding approved last year by the State Legislature and Gov. Tom Corbett.”
McLean has successfully led the Authority through a challenging period that included the formation of a new Board of Directors under a change in state law, and change in CEO. During this time, McLean effectively worked with local and state officials to help ensure the success of a comprehensive transportation funding bill that directly benefits public transportation in Allegheny County.
"Ellen has really proven herself to be the right leader for the Port Authority," said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. "Over the past few months, she has focused on improving service, implementing real time technology for riders, advocating for the agency and its users in the negotiations on transportation funding, moving the Bus Rapid Transit project forward and increasing advertising revenues. She has met every challenge, established strong relationships with each of our stakeholders and has led the agency with poise and determination. I look forward to continuing to work with her and the rest of our partners as we improve and strengthen our transit system."
McLean joined Port Authority in 2010 as its Chief Financial Officer, overseeing financial planning, operating and capital budgets and other areas. Her previous experience includes serving for six years as Chief Financial Officer of the City of Pittsburgh under Mayor Tom Murphy and later as Managing Director of Infrastructure Initiatives for the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C.
"We've developed a positive relationship with Ellen McLean and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald through the last few years, working on legislation and our last labor agreement," said Steve Palonis, President/Business Agent for ATU Local 85. "I think we all agree that public transportation is a right for residents of Allegheny County. And, I think Ellen brings stability and positive direction to the Authority."
McLean will be paid an annual salary of $215,000. The average CEO salary nationally for transit agencies of similar size is about $254,000, according to 2012 data from the American Public Transportation Association.
“I’m very pleased to lead this agency and look forward to working to improve our transit system for this region,” McLean said. “This is a team effort and I’m thrilled to do this alongside a strong Board of Directors, an engaged union leadership, community partners and support from public officials.
“Together, we can make very positive change in our public transportation system. We intend to move forward in a strategic and deliberate manner.”