Sound Transit CEO could get 11% raise, contract extension

The agency’s board meets Thursday. Peter Rogoff is paid $328,545 per year now.

SEATTLE — The chief executive overseeing Sound Transit’s multi-billion dollar expansion could be in line for a contract extension and a pay hike.

The agency’s Board of Directors is set to consider an 11 percent raise for Peter Rogoff’s at their next meeting on Thursday. A proposed agreement would give Rogoff the chance to see through major milestones for the agency, including a new light-rail segment to Lynnwood.

“I believe we should consider a term of three years, plus three one-year options to take us through 2024, which I know from my standpoint is when we’re expecting the project to Lynnwood to be completed and delivered,” said Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, the Sound Transit board chairman.

Somers spoke last week during a subcommittee meeting about the CEO contract.

The agreement would give Rogoff $365,000 in base pay, starting Dec. 1. He earns $328,545 now. After 2021, his employment would automatically renew for one year at a time through 2024, unless he or the board provide advance notice to end it.

The potential agreement outlines Rogoff’s severance package, should he face termination without cause or “resigns for good reason.” Over the first four years of the extension, he would receive a year’s worth of salary and benefits upon leaving. That amount would go down to six months of compensation for a departure during the second or third renewal year.

Rogoff also would be in line for a similar severance if the board decides against granting the contract renewals.

The board could consider an annual performance bonus. The new agreement provides for $5,000 in miscellaneous business expenses every year, 30 days paid vacation and 12 days paid sick leave.

The board hired Rogoff three years ago. Before that, he served at some of the highest levels of the U.S. Department of Transportation under President Barack Obama. He also worked for more than two decades as a U.S. Senate staffer.

Sound Transit’s leaders have touted Rogoff’s capital connections as a major asset for securing grant money and other federal assistance. That includes more than $1 billion for the Lynnwood light-rail expansion that the Trump Administration has wavered on honoring.

What some Sound Transit employees view as an East Coast management style, and other behavioral issues, have landed the executive in trouble.

The agency’s board of directors publicly criticized him for being “abrupt” and “direct” earlier this year, after a lengthy personnel investigation. The board denied him a yearly performance bonus.

Some complained informally about Rogoff using profanity at work and making staff feel uncomfortable. The board passed a motion requiring Rogoff to improve his demeanor and relationships with staff.

The board is set to discuss the new contract terms at 1:30 p.m. Thursday and could take a vote. At the subcommittee meetings last week, Sound Transit officials compared pay levels to other metro-area transit directors.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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