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Metro report endorses widespread change

| Press release on Gunn's assessment of Metro |

5:15 p.m. Update: According to a press release, Gunn interviewed Metro employees, reviewed documents and observed operations to reach conclusions for his analysis. Metro says he identified "four major challenges for Metro:

  • Resolve safety issues;
  • Recruit a new premanent general manager;
  • Deal with deteriorating financial trends; and
  • Control escalating MetroAccess subsidies.

5 p.m. Update:Metro released a summary of the assessment from Gunn. It is available here. More details to come.

2:55 p.m. Update: Metro's board was meeting in executive session to discuss the report. We will have details of Gunn's report later Thursday on Get There and in Friday's editions of The Washington Post.

10:55 a.m. Update: Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told The Post's Ann Scott Tyson that she expects to provide the media with a summary of Gunn's remarks after the executive session.

Original post: Metro's board of directors is expected to receive an oral report assessing the state of the transit system from former general manager David Gunn during a meeting Thursday.

According to the agenda, Gunn's comments are scheduled to be delivered during an executive session of the board that will be closed to the public. The agenda also includes "a discussion of board structure and process."

The move comes as the troubled transit agency faces an unprecedented string of fatal safety lapses; a projected $189 million budget deficit for 2011; an $11 billion shortfall in capital funds over the next decade; and increased scrutiny from federal officials.

The agency announced in February that Gunn, a Harvard Business School graduate who led Metro from 1991 to 1994, would conduct a two-week appraisal of how Metro is run.

At the time, Metro board member Mortimer Downey said, "It's like calling in a specialist: "Give the system a physical and tell us what you think.'"

Gunn said his assessment would examine the capital and operating budgets as well as the management structure.

Board chair Peter Benjamin has said he expected Gunn's report to help shape the search for a new general manager to replace John B. Catoe Jr., who announced in January that he will leave the agency April 2.

Last week the board hired former New Jersey Transit chief Richard Sarles as the interim manager. Sarles, who has said he isn't interested in the permanent job, is expected to serve from six to 12 months while the board searches for a new general manager. He is scheduled to begin on March 29.

-- Staff Reports

Board Chair Peter Benjamin. (By Mark Gail/The Washington Post)

By Michael Bolden  |  March 11, 2010; 6:18 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Metro  | Tags: Metro  
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Can the Post please file an emergency injunction here? All three jurisdictions have open meetings/sunshine laws which apply to this hearing. This is clearly illegal.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | March 11, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

The District of Columbia Sunshine Act provides the public with a right of access to meetings of D.C. government bodies. It permits any member of the public to attend the meetings of "any department, agency, board or commission" of the District government. It also entitles you to inspect and copy transcripts of meetings, but it does not impose specific notice requirements on government bodies.

What Meetings Are Covered?

What Government Bodies Are Covered?
The meetings of any department, agency, board, or commission of the District government, including meetings of the Council of the District of Columbia, are covered by the Sunshine Act. See D.C. Code ยง 1-207.42(a) (link is to entire D.C. Code; click through to Title 1, Chapter 2, Subchapter VII, Part D, and then locate the specific provision). For a list of D.C. government departments, boards, and agencies, with contact information, see the Directory of Agencies and Services. Meetings of the federal government are not covered by the D.C. Sunshine Act.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | March 11, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Or how about a FOIA request?

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | March 11, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

This report is better given in closed session. That way it will be more open, honest, direct, and hopefully used, instead of the PC BS you get in public session.

I would expect Gunn's report to be scathing, especially since this is the same Board that undermined Gunn when he was GM, causing him to leave after 3 years.

Posted by: chucky-el | March 11, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

We pay for it.

We ride it.

We die on it.

Give us the report!

Posted by: Geokalish | March 11, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

It's probably such an embarrassing report that it shouldn't be public. Besides, it'll make Catoe look even worse prior to his disappearing from the scene (of the crime).

Posted by: TooManyPeople | March 11, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

No public report, no fare increase. Simple as that.

Posted by: wpjunk | March 11, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I don't care if this report is public or private. Anyone who rides metro knows what is going on, and its not good.

Posted by: 123cartoon | March 11, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Come on WaPo, do your readers a solid and prevent the Board from hearing this assessment in private. This is an issue that very much concerns the riders and any executive session on public transit agency actions prevent reasonable comment and participation by the riders.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | March 11, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"10:55 a.m. Update: Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told The Post's Ann Scott Tyson that she expects to provide the media with a summary of Gunn's remarks after the executive session."

Yeah, we'll get a summary with Metro's spin that will downplay anything of substance. If Metro says something, it should be immediately, and often, questioned as it won't be the whole truth.

Posted by: ceebee2 | March 11, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Jesus...the tin foil hat crowd is out in style today aren't they.

Give it a rest people. The report and recommendations will be made public afterwards, just as they ALWAYS are. You act as though this is the first time Metro has had a closed door meeting. Happens all the time, as it does with the DC Council, Congress etc.

Why don't you unsuckmetro people give the folks a second to do their jobs without having all of you armchair metro GM's screaming like whiney children at them. If the results of this report aren't out in a time frame suitable to you (which is I imagine 6 seconds after its done), file a foia request and get it.

Three words folks...

Get - a - grip

Posted by: Nosh1 | March 11, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Anarcho, I don't think WMATA falls under DC Government. That said, I'd love to be taking the minutes in that meeting. Or maybe just a fly on the wall. :)

Posted by: SusanMarie2 | March 11, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

When they're done, send in the troops and start having the Army run Metro.

Posted by: member5 | March 11, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

All three jurisdictions have open meetings laws. This seems to clearly violate the intent of those laws, regardless of WMATA's residency status as a governmental organization.

I sincerely hope WaPo will be FOIAing the report. Otherwise I'll have a busy weekend.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | March 11, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

any info yet?

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | March 11, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

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