Newly Appointed N.J. Transit Chief Won’t Take the Job

Nearly two weeks after New Jersey Transit named a new executive director, state officials said on Thursday that the appointee, a former Amtrak official, had decided not to take the job.

William Crosbie, who had worked as chief operating officer for Amtrak, was appointed to the agency post this month. State officials said he withdrew over concerns about relocating his family from Virginia.

The agency’s chairman, Richard T. Hammer, said he was disappointed by the news.

“The decision came as a surprise to us because of the level of mutual enthusiasm we both shared when he accepted the offer,” Mr. Hammer said in a statement.

Mr. Crosbie, 51, who was expected to start on Monday, had not previously disclosed his reservations about moving his family, said Stephen Schapiro, a spokesman for the State Transportation Department. Mr. Crosbie has residences in Montclair, N.J., and Virginia, Mr. Schapiro said.

Mr. Crosbie’s decision, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday night, is a setback for the agency, which has been plagued by financial problems and complaints from riders about unreliable service. Last year, the agency’s executive director, Veronique Hakim, left to become president of New York City Transit, which runs the city’s subways and buses.

The state will now restart its search for an executive director, Mr. Hammer said. Dennis J. Martin, who has served as the agency’s interim leader, will continue in that role.

In announcing Mr. Crosbie’s appointment earlier this month, Mr. Hammer had said he was “perfectly suited to address the needs facing the agency at this important time.”

Mr. Crosbie did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Gov. Chris Christie said it was better to learn Mr. Crosbie had a “change of heart” now rather than after he started the job.

“When you say you accept a job and you look somebody in the eye, I think it’s important to keep your word,” Mr. Christie told reporters. “So I’m very disappointed in that.”

New Jersey Transit narrowly avoided a strike by its rail workers last month after a tense dispute over wages and benefits. At the same time, the agency has taken a lead role on a huge project to build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River.

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