SEPTA has come to a new agreement with General Manager and CEO Leslie Richards.
Richards, who initially assumed the role in January 2020, will continue to lead SEPTA through January 2027 under a new four-year contract, the regional transit agency announced Thursday.
As part of the agreement, Richards will receive a salary increase of $75,000, bringing her total compensation to $425,000, according to a report by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
SEPTA officials told the newspaper the raise was approved after a comprehensive review of compensation for leaders in comparable transit systems.
During her time at SEPTA, Richards steered the transit authority through the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
SEPTA officials noted in a statement that Richards has been a driving force behind SEPTA Forward, the Authority’s strategic plan, which has advanced major initiatives such as the Bus Revolution, Trolley Modernization, and Reimagining Regional Rail. She also has championed the implementation of a more inclusive fare structure and prioritized capital improvement projects.
Going forward, Richards will face the task of leading SEPTA amidst lingering ridership challenges due to the pandemic and potential budgetary constraints.
SEPTA Board Chairperson Pasquale “Pat” Deon Sr., a resident of Bucks County, said expressed enthusiasm for Richards’ continued leadership.
“We are thrilled that Leslie will continue to lead SEPTA moving forward. When Leslie came to SEPTA, she brought not only her expertise in transportation but also a vision for the Authority’s future. Her productive relationships with our funding partners in Harrisburg, as well as at the local and federal level, have served SEPTA well during what has been a very challenging time. This Board is confident that Leslie will continue to successfully advocate for the needs of SEPTA and the customers we serve,” he said.
Expressing her gratitude for the Board’s support, Richards stated, “I am grateful to the Board for its continued support, and I am excited about the opportunities that we have in front of us. We continue to strive for a better SEPTA, one that our customers can count on to deliver service that is reliable, safe, and secure,” she said. “I am honored to have the opportunity to lead SEPTA’s talented and dedicated workforce in the coming years. We have accomplished a lot together, and I truly believe that the best is yet to come.”
Prior to her tenure at SEPTA, Richards served as PennDOT secretary and previously was a Montgomery County commissioner.
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