I-Team: State Unaware Of Atlanta Audit Before MBTA GM Was Hired
BOSTON (CBS) – The State Transportation Secretary admits he didn’t know about the mess the MBTA’s new GM is leaving behind.
Beverly Scott has been running Atlanta’s transit system since 2007. But as the I-Team first reported, an audit found that system needs a major financial overhaul.
Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve says top state transportation officials claim they are not worried about the scathing conclusions reached in that report.
Shortsleeve: Were you aware that an audit was done before hiring Beverly Scott?
Transportation Secretary Richard Davey: “No, we were not aware that audit was being performed.”
Davey admits there were things he didn’t know about Beverly Scott before she was hired to run the MBTA last month.
For the past five years Scott has been the general manager of Atlanta’s transit authority, known as MARTA, Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, the 9th largest in the country.
As the I-Team first reported Monday, an audit she requested concluded among other things that MARTA’s
- Current economic model was unsustainable
- The system will exhaust reserves by 2018
- There are high rates of employee absenteeism
- And retirement costs are higher than the national average
Representative Steven Howitt serves on the Transportation Committee on Beacon Hill. He suggests the audits’ conclusions are not necessarily a good thing for the MBTA.
“They are troubling… they are troubling…having a certain unsustainable model is troubling but then again it seems we have had an unsustainable model in Massachusetts for a while.”
Shortsleeve: This audit concludes that MARTA’s current economic model is unsustainable?
Richard Davey: “Sure, just like the “T’s”
Shortsleeve: That makes her a good fit?
Richard Davey: “I think so. Absolutely.”
The MBTA is a challenged aging transit system facing multimillion dollar deficits. Davey says, “If we’re looking for the person who managed the perfect agency, we would never hire a new general manager of the MBTA. It is just not possible.”
Shortsleeve: Would you like to have been aware of this audit prior to selecting her?
Davey: “No, not necessarily.”
Beverly Scott laid off 400 employees in Atlanta, froze wages for five years and made workers contribute more to their health care costs. State transportation officials point to these cost saving measures as proof she is up the task here in Boston.
She takes over in December.