Today, 19 September 2014 brought about the end of the Martha Rose Era at Island Transit. Folks testified at the Island Transit meeting and took video – which will be uploaded as an update to this post – stating their deep concerns with the reports coming from anonymous Island Transit employees as well as Island Transit’s fare free policies. There was also one Oak Harbor Mayor Scott Dudley laying down a pasting to a point “he lost faith and competence” in the Executive Director. In short, Island Transit Executive Director Martha Rose was forced to hand in her resignation today and Island Transit Board Chairman Bob Clay has taken over emergency CEO responsibilities until at least September 24th at 4 PM/16oo Hours in a clear victory for transit users.
The Whidbey News-Times reported tonight :
The embattled executive director of Island Transit quit Friday after a tense meeting with the board of directors and an hour-long executive session.
It was unclear whether the board asked Martha Rose to turn in her keys during the closed-door session, or even whether she retired or resigned. The board members voted unanimously — with Island County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson participating via speakerphone — to accept Rose’s letter of resignation.
Afterward, Rose said she was retiring, not resigning.
Rose previously said she had no plans to leave, but changed her tune after the Oak Harbor City Council appointed Mayor Scott Dudley to the transit board on a temporary basis. He is filling in for Councilman Jim Campbell, who’s on an extended vacation.
Before the Whidbey News-Times reported, IslandPolitics.org got the scoop of the victory of accountability and I think the entire transit community sincerely hopes they are right that “a new era for Island Transit” has dawned.
Finally, Island County Commissioner Helen Price-Johnson issued a statement I will copy-paste in full as Commish Price-Johnson illuminates issues the mainstream media has missed:
TRANSIT UPDATE – part 2
At this morning’s Island Transit meeting the Board took unanimous action to accept the immediate resignation of Executive Director Martha Rose. Though I was in Ellensburg for another meeting, I was able to participate in the vote by telephone. As per the bylaws, the Chair of the Board Bob Clay will serve as director while an interim executive is selected. A special meeting for this transition is scheduled for Wednesday September 24th at 4pm in the Transit Board room.
The Island Transit financial reports are showing positive gains. The auditor’s review is continuing. Martha Rose served Island County for 26 years and deserves credit for her role in building up the Island Transit system. But she acknowledged today that her presence had become a distraction to the important work of recovery. With the action today the Board will now focus on moving forward in rebuilding this vital system for the good of our community.
Operations staff is working on a draft plan for right-sizing of the transit runs which will be sustainable. Public input is encouraged. I will keep sending updates as this unfolds.
So will we at Seattle Transit Blog… over to your comments. Please keep them on-topic to Island Transit and try NOT to spike the football too much. If for no other reason than there are some people who through NO fault of their own have lost a job serving the public through Island Transit…