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Clegg up for CEO of transit agency VRT, could leave council if confirmed

Boise City Council President Elaine Clegg could start a new role in the new year. If confirmed, she would take the CEO job of Valley Regional Transit, the valley-wide operator of mass transit in the Boise area.

Since 2004, Clegg has served on the Boise City Council, and is the body’s longest-serving member. She is currently president of the council. Clegg told BoiseDev that she will continue to serve, and if the VRT board confirms her, she would resign her seat at some time this spring.

“I would want to focus fully on task at hand… it would be hard to do that and stay on the city council,” Clegg said. “I don’t want to leave the city in a lurch, and I want to make sure the city can get business done and work with the administration to make sure that happens. That’s a bittersweet thing for me.”

If Clegg is confirmed and resigns her seat, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean would appoint a successor to the seat, and the remaining members of the council would need to confirm that person. They would serve the remainder of Clegg’s term, and, because her seat is at large, would not need to come from one of the new council districts. However, the new member would need to run in the district in which they live next fall if they wanted to continue on the council and stand for election.

Hoping to build coalitions

Clegg, who currently serves on the large 27-member VRT board, and smaller executive board subgroup, recused herself from the selection process initially.

“Transit has been one of the big issues I’ve worked on the entire time I’ve been on city council,” Clegg told BoiseDev. “When this opportunity became available, it was interesting. It was not my first thought, but after thinking about it and having people encourage me — I thought, ‘this is a great moment in time for the skills I can bring to it.'”

She highlighted her work building coalitions, getting people behind ideas, and finding resources as key skills she hopes to bring forth.

Clegg would replace Kelli Badesheim, who served as executive director for the last 22 years and started with VRT’s predecessor Boise Urban Stages in 1994. Badesheim announced she would step away in May.

“We are pleased to recommend Elaine for this position,” Nampa Mayor and VRT Board Chair Debbie Kling said. “She brings vision, passion, and leadership as VRT continues to advance the mission of connecting more people to more places, and we are confident in her ability to lead the agency forward.”

Clegg said with recent growth in the metro area, she feels transit can play a role in easing some of the challenges that come along with more people. We asked how this moment differs from times in the past when it looked like transit would play a bigger role in infrastructure and growth.

“Every time we’ve been at one of those moments before, there was a lot of pressure from growth and talk about how we can grow better or with a transit-oriented pattern,” she said. “But the size of it and the scale of it were enough smaller that it didn’t feel quite as urgent. Now the scale has gotten to where more people are feeling the urgency of it than in prior times.”

Clegg’s nomination will go to the full board in January for consideration.

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Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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