Harriet Richardson named as first BART Inspector General


Harriet Richardson named as first BART Inspector General

California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced the appointment of Harriet Richardson to be BART’s first Inspector General.  BART’s Board of Directors led a national recruitment for the Inspector General position and, pursuant to the legislative mandate, submitted three nominees for the Governor to consider for appointment. 

 “BART thanks Governor Newsom for appointing Harriet Richardson as BART’s first Inspector General,” said BART Board President Bevan Dufty.   “Ms. Richardson brings almost 30 years of experience conducting independent management reviews and audits.  She has received six audit awards from the Association of Local Government Auditors and her work has led to many significant reforms during her career here, in the Bay Area, and Washington state,” said Dufty.

Most recently, Richardson worked as the City Auditor for the City of Palo Alto.  She has also served as the Audit Director for the City of San Francisco and the Audit Manager/Deputy Director of the City of Berkeley’s Auditor’s Office among other positions.

“Most of all, we look forward to Ms. Richardson rolling up her sleeves to build this new Inspector General’s office and help improve our agency’s operations and ensure the effective use of public funds,” said Dufty.  

The BART Inspector General will plan, direct, and manage the independent oversight of all District activities and operations to ensure the effective use of resources and compliance with applicable federal and state laws.  The Inspector General is empowered to conduct independent audits and investigations and to provide reports of findings to BART’s Board of Directors, the California State Legislature, and the public.

“The appointment of Ms. Richardson as BART’s new Inspector General helps BART reach a new level of transparency and accountability to the riding public and the taxpayers who fund the cost of BART infrastructure and operations,” said BART Board District 1 Director Debora Allen.  “Ms. Richardson has the education and career experience to serve BART well as its first Inspector General reporting directly to the BART Board of Directors and the State of California,” said Allen.

The position of Inspector General was created when Bay Area voters approved Regional Measure 3 in June of 2018.  The measure increases tolls on the Bay Area’s seven state-owned bridges to fund $4.45 billion in transit and highway improvement projects.  BART projects funded by RM3 include additional Fleet of the Future cars as well as support for extending BART’s Silicon Valley service to Santa Clara.

State Senator Steven Glazer (D-Orinda), who authored the legislative amendment that created the Inspector General post, said he hoped the appointment would help BART build trust with riders, voters, and other community stakeholders.  “We created the Inspector General to give the BART Board and the public an independent set of eyes and ears to hold the system’s managers accountable for on-time performance, safety, and cleanliness and for the efficient spending of the public’s money,” Glazer said. “Harriet Richardson has the background and experience to meet the high standards of independence and integrity the public expects in this important position.”  

“On behalf of the BART Board, I want to thank Senator Glazer for his consistent support throughout this process to ensure that we establish an effective Office of the Inspector General and also acknowledge Senators Jerry Hill and Scott Wiener for their outstanding support as well as our entire Bay Area Legislative Delegation,” added President Dufty.

Several other major transit systems have Inspectors General. The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area Transit Authority are among the systems with such a position.