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Ex-Chief's Aide to Run Subway Project : Transit: MTA names John J. Adams as construction chief to replace ousted McSpedon. Interim manager says he will not seek the post permanently.

October 14, 1994|RICHARD SIMON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Thursday named a top aide of ousted MTA executive Edward McSpedon to serve as interim construction chief while the agency works to win back federal funding for the Los Angeles subway project.

MTA Chief Executive Officer Franklin E. White named John J. Adams, 61, vice president of construction with the MTA's Rail Construction Corp., as McSpedon's temporary replacement. Adams will serve until a nationwide search for a permanent construction chief is completed. He said he will not apply for the $131,833-a-year job.

Adams' former boss was removed this week by White, who said the agency needed a new direction in light of the Federal Transit Administration's decision last week to suspend $1.6 billion in funding for the subway project.

Although Adams served as a top aide to McSpedon, White stressed that the appointment was temporary and would provide the "experience and continuity the MTA needs in its rail construction programs while we seek a permanent executive."

"He is a respected professional with decades of experience who will give us strong interim leadership as we move forward with our efforts to restore public confidence in the rail program," White said.

Adams, who joined the now defunct Los Angeles County Transportation Commission in 1985 and became vice president of construction in 1990, said: "I'd like to focus on the future, not the past."

In selecting Adams, White said he took into account the morale at the RCC. He said Adams is a construction veteran who is well respected by his colleagues.

Assemblyman Richard Katz (D-Sylmar) said he had no objections to Adams' appointment so long as it is temporary. "He's part of the old guard," Katz said.

Katz has called for elimination of the RCC. White has said that the agency still needs a construction chief even if the RCC is eliminated.

In another development, Katz, chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, urged that the state also freeze funding for subway construction until local transit officials show that they can competently manage the project.

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