"Train Daddy" could have stayed, but the MTA derailed any chance at a promotion.
Sources told NY1 on Friday that Andy Byford was told not to apply to become the MTA's chief operating officer, part of several executive positions created by the MTA under its major reorganization plan. That plan diminished Byford's authority as president of New York City Transit.
Though, at least one New Yorker is holding out hope Byford changes his mind.
"We should not be talking about him in the past tense. I think we should get him back," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at an unrelated news conference. "Two days into this, I have certainly seen people reconsider and come back."
But Byford would be staying in a position that's stripped of power to plan a major upgrade of the subway's ancient signal system and installation of elevators at more stations. Operation agency presidents like Byford will be focused on day-to-day service.
"It may be tougher to coordinate construction and service delivery," Ben Fried, a spokesman for TransitCenter. "That's something that people need to keep an eye on because those two things are closely linked."
Byford cited this "reduced role" in his resignation letter.
The MTA's chief did not think the position lost its luster.
"I don't accept that. It's not a diminished role, it's an incredibly important role," MTA Chairman Pat Foye said.
The MTA boss said neither he, nor any other MTA official, deterred Byford from applying for the job. It ultimately went to a railroad and transportation executive from Montreal, Mario Péloquin.
The MTA chairman praised the team Byford hired over his two years running the subways and buses.
"One of the things that Andy is to be commended for is building a strong team at New York City Transit, which is going to continue that momentum into the future," Foye said.
But that team is already starting to split.
Byford handpicked signals guru, Peter Tomlin, a widely respected engineer, followed his boss out the door, resigning on Friday. The MTA said it expected the move.
There may be more people leaving their jobs in the future.
The MTA's reorganization calls for layoffs of up to 2,700 and could include Byford's hires.
The MTA chairman declined to say who would serve as acting transit president, or how the MTA will search for a new leader after Byford officially leaves February 21.
But he added that the MTA has a succession plan in place for every important position.
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