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Bullet train authority steps up hiring to fill long-vacant posts

August 27, 2012 |  4:41 pm

Bullet train authority steps up hiring to fill long-vacant posts
Plugging long-standing vacancies in its management team, the agency that plans to build the state bullet train system announced Monday the hiring of a chief administrative officer and seven other individuals to fill a variety of top executive posts.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority “is making major strides in putting in place an experienced management team to significantly improve its operations. Today marks a major milestone in achieving our staffing goals,” said Jeff Morales, the agency’s chief executive, who was hired in June.

Before the current round of hiring, the slow pace of filling key administrative positions at the authority as well as its small staff had been criticized by members of the state Senate, the authority’s peer review group and other oversight panels, such as the state Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Hired as the authority’s chief administrative officer was Wendy Boykins, who has more than 25 years of management and human resources experience at a variety of nonprofit organizations and state agencies.

Dennis Trujillo, who has held executive positions at Caltrans, the state Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, and the state Treasurer’s Office under Phil Angelides, was appointed chief deputy director of the agency.

Rail officials hired Jon Tapping as the project’s risk manager. Tapping has 28 year's experience in project management, design, maintenance and mega-project construction. Most recently, he was the risk management coordinator for the $6.3-billion seismic retrofit of the controversial San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge project.

The bullet train agency also hired an assistant chief counsel, a chief deputy for public affairs and community outreach and a deputy director of communications, as well as regional directors for northern California and the Central Valley, where construction is scheduled to begin by early next year.

In addition, the authority recently entered into an agreement with Caltrans to quickly provide experienced personnel to fill other critical positions that are or will become vacant.

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-- Dan Weikel

Photo: An illustration of a bullet train station. Credit: California High-Speed Rail Authority

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