Correction: In the original version of this post, we reported that Grace Crunican's predecessor as head of the Seattle Department of Transportation was Rich Krochalis. In fact, it was Daryl Grigsby. We regret the error.
As we reported last week, Seattle Department of Transportation Director Peter Hahn was the first casualty of the new Ed Murray administration, which—like the Mike McGinn administration before it—is working to put its imprint on the city by appointing new department heads.
McGinn appointed Hahn to replace Greg Nickels' transportation director, Grace Crunican, in 2010; Crunican infamously left town during a major 2008 snowstorm that shut down transit service and crippled traffic citywide. She now directs the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency in San Francisco.
So, our obvious One Question for Hahn: Was he surprised that he was asked to leave, and what were the circumstances of his departure?
As far as circumstances, I think you’ll have to talk to mayor-elect Murray. I recognize fully, though, that this is what happens. I think the last two SDOT directors [Crunican and, before her, Daryl Grigsby] were removed, and that's certainly in the hands of the mayor. I was hoping that with our record and the fact that, at least to my knowledge, we did not have any major or even moderate SNAFUs or missteps—we even had an auditor's study which validated much of what we do—I thought maybe there was a chance, that maybe this would be different. The mayor-elect was really cordial and respectful, and I wish him and the city the very best. I've lived here 32 years, and I hope to live here another 32 years, and I still will not be as old as my grandfather. It's a great city, and I couldn't have asked for anything more. It's been wonderful.
Last week, SDOT employees posted a "Sopranos"-themed tribute to Hahn, featuring Hahn driving through the city, titled, appropriately, "Sdotpranos."
Murray has not yet announced Hahn's replacement.