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Development & Transportation

Port Authority of Allegheny County Picks New CEO

The Port Authority of Allegheny County has hired Ellen McLean as its next CEO. McLean has been serving as the interim CEO for nearly a year and was previously the chief financial officer for the Port Authority.

“Ellen is the right person at the right time for Port Authority,” said Port Authority Chairman Bob Hurley in a written statement. “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 took over as interim CEO in early 2013, when former CEO Steve Bland was ousted on a 5-3 board vote. A national search was then conducted. That search was disrupted when the state legislature changed the make up of the board and several members were replaced.

McLean said she is excited about working with that board.  “This is a very good board,” said McLean.  “It has broad base support, it gives us great connections with our funders and I think it is going to be an excellent team to worth with.”

State funding for the Port Authority is on the rise thanks to the recently passed state transportation funding bill.  McLean said the new money will help the Authority to immediately improve the service that is already in place and she and the board will soon begin to look at the future.

“We have more need than we have money but the first thing that I do is begin to think strategically,” McLean said.  “What is the vision, what financial resources do we have and what are the priorities?"

McLean’s contract is effective February 1 and runs for three years, with options to extend the agreement for up to two additional years. She will be paid an annual salary of $215,000. According to the Port Authority, the average CEO salary nationally for transit agencies of similar size is about $254,000; that comes from 2012 data from the American Public Transportation Association.

The Port Authority has roughly 2,400 employees and serves more than 230,000 riders on an average weekday.  The Authority’s $366.6 million operating budget comes from a mix of federal, state, and county funds along with income from fares and advertising.