Bay Area/ Oakland/ Transportation & Infrastructure
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Published on March 31, 2024
BART Board Scrambles to Fill Vacancy as John McPartland Steps Down, Citing Family MattersSource: BART

With a sudden departure citing "family matters," BART Board member John McPartland is stepping down from his role, shaking up the Bay Area's transit governance. As per the San Francisco Chronicle, McPartland has been a figure on the Board since 2008, and his tenure was not to end until December 6. The unexpected vacancy in District 5 has set the clock ticking for the Board, which must promptly appoint a new member or leave the decision to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

McPartland's legacy includes his tenure as a BART safety specialist and a career as a battalion fire chief with the Oakland Fire Department prior to his stint on the BART Board. According to a statement obtained by, Bevan Dufty, BART Board President, has acknowledged the resignation during today's Board meeting and set forth an agenda for the following meeting on April 11th to address the path forward. Dufty cited the impracticability of calling a special election given the proximity to the November 2024 election, suggesting that an interim appointment is a more likely resolution.

The successor of McPartland will be required to be a resident of the district that encompasses Dublin, Livermore, Pleasanton, as well as parts of Hayward and unincorporated Alameda County. This constituency relies on the vital transport links of stations like Castro Valley and Dublin/Pleasanton, integral to the economic and social fabric of the East Bay. The successor will also have to account for filling the shoes of a member who advocated for a shift in handling BART-related mental health crises, favoring social workers over police intervention.

Controversy, however, has not been a stranger to McPartland, who once had to publicly retract a commendatory statement about Confederate Army leader Robert E. Lee during a board meeting, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle