John Nations' selection at the new president/CEO of Metro is not surprising. I joked on Twitter that John had the longest job interview ever.
Two years ago, John, who was and is (until next month), the mayor of Chesterfield, convinced his city council to commit $175,000 to Metro when a budget shortfall forced Metro to cut hundreds of west county jobs off from the people who performed them. John's understanding of the relationship between adequate public transportation and the regional economy caught the attention of Metro president/CEO Bob Baer, who pushed for Nations to lead the April 2010 ballot measure to win voter approval of a half-cent sales tax that would allow Metro to restore the cuts it had been forced to make. The choice was inspired: it enlisted an eloquent voice for public transportation who represented constituents generally considered to be the most tax-averse (and auto-centric) in the region. The campaign prevailed and John Nations, whose arm-twisting phone calls also helped fill the campaign's capacious war chest, emerged as a transportation hero.
John's selection as Bob's successor follows from his accomplishments. Besides, his advocacy for public transportation and his leadership in Chesterfield, John has played important roles in developing a more collaborative understanding of the economic challenges facing the region and in addressing the particular challenges faced by an undereducated segment of the local workforce.
With John's selection, the ghost of Larry Salci may be officially exorcised.