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Metro has appointed James M. Dougherty, the former director of safety for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, as its chief safety officer, according to a press release.

The transit agency said Dougherty, 52, will begin his job on April 19.

“I feel extremely privileged to join Metro,” Dougherty said in a press release. “This agency and its dedicated employees provide a vital service to our nation’s capital area. I will remember that millions of people rely on Metro daily, and it’s our duty to ensure they get where they want to go and then get home safely.”

Metro notified its board of directors last month that Dougherty was the agency’s pick for the top safety job, one of the most important vacancies in Metro’s senior ranks. Since the June 22 Red Line crash, which killed eight passengers and a train operator, Metro has faced a string of safety lapses. Four workers have died on the tracks, a subcontractor was electrocuted in a bus garage and the agency has faced a series of accidents. The National Transportation Safety Board is currently conducting four investigations into Metro incidents, the most of any transit agency.

The safety position has been vacant since December and Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn has been supervising safety while the agency searched for a replacement.

According to Metro, Dougherty has “25 years of experience in transit safety, occupational safety and health, industrial hygiene and environmental protection.” In addition to San Francisco, he has worked for transit agencies in Charlotte and Cleveland.


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