Howard Permut Steps Down

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Tadman
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Howard Permut Steps Down

Post by Tadman » Mon Jan 06, 2014 10:47 pm

It would appear to be in response to the three tragic events of 2013 - the track worker in West Haven, the Spuyten Duyvil derailment, and the Bridgeport derailment. While I wholeheartedly support his decision as 2013 was a really rotten year and it might be the right thing to do, it's worth recognizing that Mr. Permut was a MN original and the railroad is a totally different animal from the dark years of 1983. He has certainly accomplished a lot of good things to say the least.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/ny ... ml?hp&_r=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

"After a year marred by a train collision, a worker’s death and the first passenger fatalities in Metro-North Railroad’s three-decade history, the agency’s president, Howard R. Permut, is stepping down, according to several sources with knowledge of the move."
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Noel Weaver
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Re: Howard Permut Steps Down

Post by Noel Weaver » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:03 am

It has been reported in New York as well as in the local Sun Sentinel that Joseph Guilietti the Executive Director of Tri-Rail is to become the president of Metro North Railroad in New York. Joseph Guilietti has at least in my opinion done a very good job managing Tri-Rail for some time and it is a big loss for rail passengers in South Florida as well as a big gain for rail passengers in New York and its northern and eastern suburbs as well as Connecticut. Here is a link to the article in the local paper.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/ ... 7903.story" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Years ago I worked with Joe Guilietti when he was in train service on the New Haven Line. I think this is a very positive development for Metro-North.

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Re: Howard Permut Steps Down

Post by NH2060 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:08 am

I can't say I'm surprised of this news and yet reading it in black and white has made it really sink in. Whatever the circumstances were that resulted in last year's . I doubt very little that the Spuyten Duyvil crash was the catalyst for his retirement. The Bridgeport derailment -though non-fatal- certainly was bad enough of an incident and raised quite a few eyebrows in the process and the employee death at West Haven was another "too little too late" wake up call. But the fact that passengers were actually killed in an incident involving a MNR train -a first for the RR- doesn't exactly sound like anything one can ever look past when trying to move forward.

Wherever he goes I wish him all the best. And may the work he and the RR accomplished over the years not be overlooked.

Clean Cab
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Re: Howard Permut Steps Down

Post by Clean Cab » Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:23 am

Can't say that this comes as any real surprise. MN is making key personnel changes as a result of it's many unfortunate incidents that plagued their system all throughout 2013. I feel this may only be the first of many changes that will be made within MN management.
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shlustig
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Re: Howard Permut Steps Down

Post by shlustig » Tue Jan 07, 2014 9:33 am

Perhaps the powers that be have finally recognized the need to have an experienced railroad operations manager in charge.

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Re: Howard Permut Steps Down

Post by Clean Cab » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:00 am

shlustig wrote:Perhaps the powers that be have finally recognized the need to have an experienced railroad operations manager in charge.
The last MN president with (hands on) rail experience was Donald Nelson who was more or less forced out after MN's terrible performance after the blizzard of January 1996. I never knew Joe Giulietti when I worked at MN, but I had heard of him and those that did work with him had nothing but high praise for him. I wish him luck in his efforts to bring MN back from the edge of self destruction.
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Tadman
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Re: Howard Permut Steps Down

Post by Tadman » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:09 am

shlustig wrote:Perhaps the powers that be have finally recognized the need to have an experienced railroad operations manager in charge.
Good point, but that's a tough thing to classify now. Since transit organizations have been around for 30-ish years, what is a experienced railroad operations manager? If a guy has been working for a railroad that happens to carry commuters for 30 years, isn't he a railroad lifer? I think the intent of the above post is that we need a class-1 railroader that's run a few divisions or the like, leading to a very firm nuts-and-bolts grasp of steel wheels on steel rails. I don't disagree with that notion, but I also think the passenger carriers have evolved so much that it also takes a few political operators to run interference with the politicians in order to keep the funding flowing in the best way while the operations guys keep the railroad going.

This is probably worth of it's own thread it's such an open-ended topic (and a good one).
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Noel Weaver
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Re: Howard Permut Steps Down

Post by Noel Weaver » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:29 am

Joseph Guilietti has had a lot of experience in operations. He began his career in train service around the time that Metro-North began their operations or maybe a little bit before that, I can't recall just when he came on the railroad. He moved up in management with Metro-North for a period of time until he was appointed to the job with Tri-Rail here in South Florida as Executive Director where he has done, in my opinion, an excellent job. All of the commuter organizations would be better off if they selected their senior officers from the ranks of fine people involved in operations rather than going the more or less political route that they have followed. Metro-North had some fine people who could have served in high positions but probably caused by politics they were passed by for somebody else. In my opinion, New York's gain is our loss and I wish Joseph Guilietti the very best of everything in this move.
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Re: Howard Permut Steps Down

Post by Bright Star » Tue Jan 07, 2014 12:44 pm

Somebody's' head had to roll. BTW, wasn't Mr. Permut an 'up from the ranks' guy ? An original MN hire I believe ?

Mr. Gullietti sounds like a wonderful replacement, yet a manager is only as good as the folks below them.

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Re: Howard Permut Steps Down

Post by spidey3 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:36 pm

Noel Weaver wrote:All of the commuter organizations would be better off if they selected their senior officers from the ranks of fine people involved in operations rather than going the more or less political route that they have followed.
While I agree that it is helpful to have a leader who is steeped in the tea of railway operations, note that experience in political matters, labor relations, marketing, and public relations are all useful too...

Steamboat Willie
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Re: Howard Permut Steps Down

Post by Steamboat Willie » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:23 pm

Permut came from Planning within MN. Also as Noel said, his successor made it as high as a superintendent before going south for TriRail, I would think he has a basic understanding of labor relations/politics/etc. There were rumors going around here that the successor was going to be someone with prior ties with MN. Guilletti fits the prediction but I heard other names being tossed around to be acting head until they found a permanent candidate. Hope he's in it for the long haul and fixes this place!
Last edited by Steamboat Willie on Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Noel Weaver
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Re: Howard Permut Steps Down

Post by Noel Weaver » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:26 pm

spidey3 wrote:
Noel Weaver wrote:All of the commuter organizations would be better off if they selected their senior officers from the ranks of fine people involved in operations rather than going the more or less political route that they have followed.
While I agree that it is helpful to have a leader who is steeped in the tea of railway operations, note that experience in political matters, labor relations, marketing, and public relations are all useful too...
The emphasis on political matters, marketing and public relations over operations is what has been the root of many of the problems of the commuter outfits especially in the northeast. Most operating people already have had lots of experience in labor relations and other labor related matters.
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Steamboat Willie
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Re: Howard Permut Steps Down

Post by Steamboat Willie » Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:29 pm

Noel makes a good point and all you have to do is look at the LIRR with the appointment of Heleena Williams, whom came from LI Bus (now NICE) and had no prior RR knowledge. The consensus is that was a promotion purely based on politics.

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Tommy Meehan
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Re: Howard Permut Steps Down

Post by Tommy Meehan » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:43 pm

Noel Weaver wrote:...The emphasis on political matters, marketing and public relations over operations is what has been the root of many of the problems of the commuter outfits especially in the northeast. Most operating people already have had lots of experience in labor relations and other labor related matters.
I agree. My understanding is Howard Permut was basically a marketing guy. That's fine. But Metro-North is a railroad. I think you need a railroader to lead a railroad. Just as on my job I think you need a manufacturing guy to run a factory.

Political and legal matters, marketing, customer relations, finance, those are all difficult fields that should be overseen by vice presidents experienced in each. But I think the top guy at a railroad needs to be an operations guy or an engineering staffer. The bottom line with a railroad is running trains. Not doing marketing, not getting subsidies, not litigating regulatory matters. Those are all secondary to the core mission. Running trains. When the company forgets that they can wind up having a lot of problems. Priorities get misplaced. Warning signs aren't recognized until it's too late.

Sound about right? :(

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Re: Howard Permut Steps Down

Post by MACTRAXX » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:42 pm

Steamboat Willie wrote:Noel makes a good point and all you have to do is look at the LIRR with the appointment of Heleena Williams, whom came from LI Bus (now NICE) and had no prior RR knowledge. The consensus is that was a promotion purely based on politics.
SW and Everyone: This to me is unfortunate and was no doubt political pressure working here...

After the good feelings following GCT's 100th Anniversary and May's "Parade of Trains" along with MNCR's 30th Birthday I feel things started to change with the Bridgeport mishap...

Hiring a President that is a true railroader instead of someone politically connected is a good move noting Noel Weaver's mention of Tri-Rail's Joseph Guilietti...

This reminds me of how the LIRR's former President James Dermody was forced out a few years back after all those LIRR "gap" incidents and remembering that he literally came
up through the ranks-beginning as a ticket clerk in I believe 1958...

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