Outgoing MTC Chair MacKenzie: Commissioners Serve the Region

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission recently experienced significant leadership changes. On March 1, 2019, Therese McMillan, replaced Steve Heminger as Metropolitan Transportation Commission executive director. Ms. McMillan’s most recent position was chief planning officer with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; however, previously to that position, she worked at the Bay Area’s MTC for 25 years. Scott Haggerty, Alameda County supervisor and vice chair of the MTC replaced Jake MacKenzie, Rohnert Park councilmember, as MTC chair. MTC chairs serve for two years, and Commissioner MacKenzie was elected as chair in 2017.

Although both changes at MTC are significant, the departure of Jake MacKenzie as chair is worth a few extra comments by the Nine-County Coalition.

At the MTC meeting of February 27, 2019, in which Scott Haggerty assumed the chairmanship, Jake MacKenzie spoke with emotion about how difficult the past few months had been for him and his family. He was “personally insulted” over his vote in favor of CASA by people who did not understand the role of an MTC commissioner is to think regionally, he said. Indeed, it is difficult to visualize how amicable and effective discussion can occur between MacKenzie, who thinks cities and counties need to accept their region as something greater than themselves, and Rohnert Park councilmembers, who place their city’s needs above those of the region.

Jake MacKenzie’s sorrowfulness over what he perceives as a lack of gratitude on the part of his fellow Rohnert Park councilmemebers exemplifies the conflict we at the Nine-County Coalition have been discussing. On a recent NCC article, we spoke about the Mayor of Rohnert Park expressing the feeling that Rohnert Park “did not matter” in Jake MacKenzie’s vote in favor of CASA.

MacKenzie will remain as MTC Commissioner, until, as he says, Rohnert Park councilmembers deem otherwise.

You can view Jake MacKenzie’s farewell speech as chair of MTC starting at 34.10 on the video linked to the MTC website below.

You can read more about Scott Haggerty’s assumption of the MTC chairmanship in Meter Madness, a site often recommended by the Nine-County Coalition.