HART needs to expand its search
Hillsborough County residents sent a powerful message about the importance of solving our growing transportation challenges by approving a 1-cent sales tax. This is the most important moment in the history of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority.
With the search for a new CEO under way, the HART board of directors should select a proven leader deserving of this responsibility, who can usher in a new era for transportation in Hillsborough County and in Tampa Bay. The stakes are too high to not get this right.
Today, the members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Executive Search will review video interviews and determine which of the four candidates on the “short list” will interview in person with the HART board in February. We’re concerned this candidate pool offers limited experience in serving as the chief executive of a transit agency, and certainly not one as robust as HART will be with its new dedicated funding source.
We urge the HART board to expand its list of finalists, take more time to seek public comment and conduct interviews, and be willing to start over if we haven’t attracted the skilled leader we need.
We applaud the HART board for initiating the search process after the results of the referendum were clear and for hiring a nationally recognized search firm to lead the effort. We respectfully ask them to take the steps we’ve outlined to ensure our future success.
If the right candidate does not come forward during this round of recruitment, we encourage the HART board to go back to the drawing board. Expediency should not drive this process. Our expectations are high, and we shouldn’t settle for less.
Chad Loar and and Barry Shevlin