Thursday, April 29, 2010

Editorial: Neil McFarlane

Yesterday as many of you know, TriMet named Neil McFarlane as the new GM set to take over on the first day of July. His salary will be $217,000, sure thats a nice $39,000 savings, but he gets bonuses. Bonuses, for what? The agency is sinking, how do you get rewarded when things go South? Oh right, follow the lead of our banking industry.

McFarlane went on to thank the Board for the support for him. I do not have a high respect for the Board, because in most cases they do not act in the favor of the riders, they act in the favor of the General Manager, or whatever works for TriMet. If the Board was elected by those who they represent, you might see things occur differently. TriMet is an agency that continues to push forward with new projects, such as the Milwaukie Light Rail, when they can't even maintain the current service levels.

McFarlane was the head cheese of Capital Projects, i.e. RAIL. So this bears the question, is Fred really leaving? Sure, Fred Hansen is leaving, but as far we we can predict, Freds ways of running TriMet are here to stay. McFarlane was a big part of WES, you know that dismal failure that once again was pulled off the chopping block (with no reason as to why). I expect to see more rail press on, while the bus riders of Portland continue to suffer. Also, TriMet makes it seem they are in the business to turn a profit. They are not, Police, Fire, Elections, DOT, theses are services that come from your tax dollars. TriMet comes largely from tax dollars as well, yet fares and service are a large (that what seems as normal) role in the budget process. TriMet has too many Admin personnel, 2 spokes people? Really? And is it me, or have you noticed since Fred announced his resignation, Fred has taken the camera a lot more in the last 6 weeks than the last........long time? The GM can be the spokesman, poof, 2 Admin jobs smaller, keep going (offer them Operator Positions). TriMet is here to provide Transportation services for the residents of the greater Portland Metro area, these residents continue to call on TriMet to provide BETTER Bus Service, Shelve Rail Projects (at least for now), cut back WES, buy new buses, buy Hybrid buses, and see the General Manager step up and take responsibility for running TriMet efficiently, not building it bigger. Slow down, make TriMet a world class system again, then build on that.

Will McFarlane do this? His "Experience" says no, but hey, this could be his challenge to prove me, Al, Erik and the residents of Portland wrong! Best of Luck!

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