MBTA chief security officer to resign on the finish of the month after 3 years within the place

Native Information

MBTA Normal Supervisor Phillip Eng has appointed Rod Brooks, a senior advisor on capital, operations, and security, to steer the transit authority’s Security Division whereas officers seek for Ron Ester’s substitute.

The MBTA’s chief security officer, Ron Ester, will resign on the finish of the month after three years within the place, MBTA Normal Supervisor Phillip Eng introduced Tuesday.

Ester’s resignation will go into impact on Aug. 30, Eng stated in an electronic mail to staff. He has appointed Rod Brooks, a senior advisor on capital, operations and security, to steer the transit authority’s Security Division whereas officers seek for Ester’s substitute.

“I’m pleased with the work that we’ve got accomplished to make our system safer throughout my tenure, regardless of the various challenges that we’ve got confronted. The MBTA has been underinvested in for many years, and it has taken quite a lot of laborious work to make our system as secure as it’s right now,” Ester stated in a press release Tuesday.

“I do know that there’s nonetheless extra work to be accomplished, however I’m proud to have performed a number one position in lots of the enhancements which have taken form. It’s bittersweet to be stepping away from my position, however I do know that the MBTA is in good fingers with Phil Eng.”

Ronald Ester, chief security officer on the MBTA, is resigning on the finish of August. – MBTA

Within the electronic mail, Eng praised Ester for implementing many suggestions made within the 2019 Security Panel Report. He helped usher in a brand new security administration system, the transit authority’s COVID-19 security measures, and led the MBTA by means of the Federal Transit Authority’s (FTA) security inspection in 2022, Eng stated.

“I’m grateful for Ron’s service to the MBTA. He has made an actual distinction within the security of our system, and he will probably be missed,” Eng, who took over the MBTA in April, wrote within the electronic mail.

Ester’s tenure as chief security officer

Ester took the job in August 2020 as a part of a reorganization of the Security Division, The Boston Globe reported. Earlier than that, he spent almost 30 years working for the Chicago Transit Authority.

Whereas the MBTA’s issues of safety are long-standing, security on the system continued to say no below Ester. The FTA discovered that between January 2019 and April 2022, the T had the next price of significant security occasions than the trade common and that security occasions turned extra critical throughout that point, the Globe reported.

Ester was additionally in cost when the MBTA’s most notorious security incidents occurred, reminiscent of when a Crimson Line passenger was dragged to his dying in April 2022 and when an Orange Line prepare caught hearth in August of that yr.

Nonetheless, the MBTA claims that below Ester’s supervision, it expanded its security division and broadened the division’s scope, the Globe reported.

Ester’s resignation didn’t come as a shock to transit advocates, the Globe reported.

“He walked into the center of a pandemic which become an abject security disaster below an administration that wasn’t keen to present him the assets he wanted,” Stacy Thompson, government director of LivableStreets Alliance instructed the newspaper. “He was put in a very powerful place.”

Brian Kane, government director of the MBTA Advisory Board, instructed the Globe that Ester carried out his job effectively, however that leaving is the proper determination.

“There must be an entire remaking of security contained in the T and of security oversight,” he stated.

What Ester’s successor can count on

Ester’s resignation comes whereas the MBTA is struggling to rent sufficient staff amid excessive attrition charges. It’s additionally nonetheless having bother assembly federal transit officers’ security expectations.

The MBTA’s chief security officer presently reviews to MassDOT Chief Security Officer Patrick Lavin, who Gov. Maura Healey appointed to the place in April. He additionally labored on the 2019 Security Panel Report, which was a scathing indictment of the MBTA’s continual issues of safety.

However authority over security on the MBTA could possibly be altering. In July, the Massachusetts Legislature’s transportation committee accredited a invoice that may set up a brand new Workplace of Transit Security on the state degree, The Boston Globe reported.

The brand new workplace would handle security on all the MBTA’s modes of transportation, taking the place of the Division of Public Utilities (DPU), the Globe reported. Federal transit officers have criticized the DPU for not offering wanted oversight of security on the MBTA.