The top names being floated to replace Iris Weinshall as commissioner of the Department of Transportation are all high-powered women for whom sources say the commissioner's salary of $171,038 would be a pay cut.
The current front-runner, according to transit sources, is the woman who lost the position to Ms. Weinshall in 2000: Janette Sadik-Khan, 46, a senior vice president at the engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff. Sources say there is a widespread perception that Mayor Giuliani in 2000 appointed Ms. Weinshall to the post due to her political connections — she is the wife of Senator Schumer — and overlooked the candidate more qualified for the job. Sources close to Ms. Sadik-Khan say that she may not want to leave her higher-paying job at Parsons Brinckerhoff for the commissioner position.
A former executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Katherine Lapp, is another name that has been floated for the position. But transit officials who worked with her during her tenure at the MTA said they would be surprised if she accepted the position. The commissioner's salary would be almost a 50% pay cut versus the $300,000 package she received from the MTA. Ms. Lapp, who has been looking for a job since she left the MTA at the end of last year, would not comment yesterday about her level of interest in the position.
The vice president of the city's Economic Development Corporation, Joan McDonald, is another top candidate for the job, according to Crain's. She has a close working relationship with Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, who oversees the Department of Transportation. But some sources say that Ms. McDonald has heard nothing about the post directly from the city, and that she may not be a candidate after all.
"Someone from the Economic Development Corporation would make sense," City Council Member John Liu, who heads the council's Transportation Committee, said. "Joan McDonald may not be the only one."
Ms. Weinshall is resigning in mid-April to accept a higher-paying position as a vice chancellor at the City University of New York.