Denver might be a case in point. They wanted regional transit. All of the suburban mayors went to bat for it and got a tax package passed by the suburban voters as well as the city voters. Problem was that the transit authority went on a hiring and spending spree and then went back to the suburban mayors and said that they didn't have enough money to finish the system and they needed additions to the tax package. Guess what the reaction from the suburban mayors was? As Wesley noted, people are very suspicious of government activities.Poor rural people. Everything is stacked against them. For example, as we all know, the Michigan transportation budget funds gold plated subways, light rail, and buses in urban areas like Detroit while spending next to nothing on highways. And similarly, their presidential choices have to get almost as many votes as the Democrat if they even want to win the election! How unfair! And then when tax season comes around, low-earning rural people have to wait up to six weeks to get a tax refund paid for by high-earning city dwellers. Yes, it's high time we all learned from the simple wisdom of rural America and lived within our means, after adjusting our means to include ongoing subsidies from others with higher-paying jobs who we can vilify.
To me, a lot of this thread comes back to what I've said in previous threads. In many ways governance and government in the Detroit area are set up to fail; the result is predictable and taints good will towards providing greater resources.
There are too many governments in the Detroit area. Merging/consolidating etc etc. is near essential to helping harmonize interests and product more cohesive planning.
Another issue here is that the RTA, at its start is providing a level of service that won't even satisfy most low-income, captive riders, let alone woo discretionary ones.
If you're going to bother, you have to start w/the notion that during peak and near-peak travel times, service has to be every 20m or better. Empty buses be damned. No one is giving up the car to experience a 40m wait, god forbid they miss the bus.
Part of this is also a need for a state role.
GO Transit, the Toronto area's regional transit service is provincially funded and managed, with some municipal charge-backs authorized within its act.
I would also suggest that area-rating is an important property tax rule in counties/regions w/a distinct urban/rural divide.
It does not mean that those in rural areas won't contribute to any service, merely because they have lesser access to it. But it does set a lower millage rate to reflect, broadly, less access to services. That helps achieve buy-in.
Guess I called that one wrong:I think you're trying to make this in to more than it is simply to support your position.
$19k is nothing for someone at his level and it sounds like it was due to unclear contract terms rather than a deliberate misuse of funds. This is going to have zero impact on the future, positive or negative, of the RTA or for that matter, Mr. Ford's career.
Guess I called that one wrong:
So Mr. Ford pays back $19,000, but admits no wrongdoing and now the RTA gets to pay him over $20,000 per month for doing absolutely nothing? And at the same time they have to hire his replacement and pay his/her salary as well. I'm beginning to think the title of this thread may be more appropriate than I had thought.
The RTA was a good idea while it lasted. Now it will be forever tainted as prone to "corruption", and so.. forget about any new millage proposals.
Letting him go now is the right move. Not a hard decision given this is a multi-year pattern of behavior. Now try to get some actual service results between now and 2018 / 2020 to show people before asking for money and trust.
They terminated him without cause; I bet his contract says they have to pay out the rest of his contract in that case. Sounds fairly standard for this type of contract. They would probably spend a lot more than the $161K building a case to terminate him with cause.So Mr. Ford pays back $19,000, but admits no wrongdoing and now the RTA gets to pay him over $20,000 per month for doing absolutely nothing? And at the same time they have to hire his replacement and pay his/her salary as well. I'm beginning to think the title of this thread may be more appropriate than I had thought.
I agree with others - this seems to be more about his handling of the millage than about expenses. If I were prone to conspiracy theories, I would suggest they leaked the expenses issue to see if they could generate enough public pressure for him to resign without board action (saving the $161K). But I'm not, so I won't.