ALBANY—News that Helena Williams will be tapped by David Paterson as the interim head of the M.T.A. is getting a warm reception so far.
"It's too bad it's only an interim appointment, because I think she'd be great," said Neysa Pranger of the Regional Plan Association. "She does well in terms of balancing the needs of the community, politics, and the needs of the transit system."
Williams has served as president of the Long Island Railroad since 2007. Two Democratic sources say she fills two very important criteria: she would be able to hit the ground running, and is not politically objectionable to anybody. State Senator Martin Malave Dilan, whose public skepticism about Marc Shaw as a contender for the post created a tiff, underscored that second point.
"I haven't heard anything officially and I don't know her, so I look forward to meeting her, seeing who she is, and hopefully work together," Dilan just told me by phone. "I don't know her so I don't have anything either way. I look forward to the governor making his announcement and then proceeding with whatever the process is."