Mayor Richard M. Daley said today he will recommend that the Chicago Transit Authority Board name Richard Rodriguez, currently the City's Commissioner of Aviation, as CTA President and that he is appointing Rosemarie Andolino as the new Aviation Commissioner.
Since 2003, Andolino has served as Executive Director of the O’Hare Modernization Program (OMP), which she will continue to oversee in her new assignment.
"Both of these individuals have proven themselves as strong and creative managers in their previous assignments with the city. We need that skill and experience, especially in these challenging economic times when we must constantly find ways to manage government and deliver services more efficiently, even as our revenues are falling," Daley said in a City Hall news conference.
Rodriguez, 38, has served as Aviation Commissioner since April 17, 2008. In that role, he has helped increase community outreach efforts by promoting awareness of, and preparation for, the certification of local businesses via the Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) program.
Previously, Rodriguez had been Commissioner of the Department of Buildings since June, 2007. In that position, he was responsible for enforcing the Chicago Building Code and integrating the functions of the Buildings Department with the Department of Construction and Permits, saving the City nearly $2 million.
During his tenure, he streamlined the permit fee process and improved the inspection process. He also continued the successful implementation of the Green Permit Program.
"A modern public transportation system is essential to the future of our state, our region and our city. It is vital to our economic security and to our ability to recruit new businesses and create new jobs. It provides an alternative to cars and to the traffic congestion and air pollution they bring with them," Daley said.
"As I have said in the past, the CTA needs to continue its commitment to focusing on improving the quality of service it provides to riders day by day," the Mayor said.
Daley said he had spoken with Rodriguez and reminded him that the CTA must always put the needs and interests of its customers first.
The Mayor said Rodriguez needs to keep neighborhood riders informed of his plans, fight in Springfield to get Chicago's fair share of funding, look for new ways to reduce spending and implement creative management improvements, including finding new ways to create partnerships with the private sector and using the latest innovations in technology to better serve Chicago's riders.
"That's a tall challenge in a tough economy, but I believe Rich is up to it. His record of results in his previous assignments tells me he will be great asset to the CTA and to the thousands of customers who rely on it every day to get to and from work and go about their lives," Daley said.
Rodriguez's salary will be $198,000.
Andolino, 41, will succeed Rodriguez as Commissioner of Aviation and continue to oversee the O'Hare Modernization Program. The OMP will be consolidated into the operations of the Department of Aviation, which will result in some cost savings and greater efficiencies. Her salary will be $179,109.
"There's no more important job than making sure that O'Hare remains the economic engine of our state and our region. A modernized O'Hare means the creation of 195,000 more jobs, and another $18 billion in annual economic activity," the Mayor said.
"We must see the O'Hare plan through to its conclusion, and we need the continuity of leadership that Rosie brings to the task," he said.
Under Ms. Andolino's leadership, the OMP successfully completed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)'s Environmental Impact Statement process, the most comprehensive level of review for an airport project. The FAA issued its Record of Decision approving the OMP on September 30, 2005, and the OMP successfully broke ground that same day.
Nearly three years later, the OMP commissioned its first runway project, the Runway 10/28 extension, 56 days ahead of schedule and $33 million under budget. On November 20, 2008, the OMP commissioned new Runway 9L/27R, O'Hare's first new runway since 1971 and a new North Air Traffic Control Tower (NATCT) on schedule and $6 million under budget.
Construction continues on Runway 10C/28C, built to accommodate New Large Aircraft such as the Airbus A380. In fact, OMP construction contractors will begin pouring concrete on both ends of Runway 10C in spring 2009.
Preliminary design work is also underway for Runway 9C/27C, Runway 10R/28L, The Runway 9R/28L extension and the Western Terminal Complex
Daley pointed out this is a challenging time for the airline industry, and said he has told Andolino her job is to keep Chicago's airports strong and efficient so they can serve airlines, travelers and taxpayers today and well into the future, anticipating future growth in operations.
"The Department of Aviation needs to continue its commitment to ensuring safe and secure travel at our airports and providing a positive customer experience in an environment that reflects Chicago's rich, diverse and unique culture. In fact, we want the airports to reflect all of the great things that the City is known for and has to offer. So it's critical that we maintain an efficient and well-managed system," the Mayor said.
Daley also thanked Dorval Carter for his service as interim president of the CTA. "He is a true professional who takes on any assignment given to him and does it well," he said.