This morning the Sunset Advisory Commission released its staff report of Capital Metro. It’s not exactly flattering, but it does present an opportunity to make positive change and improve the operation of the agency. Many of the issues identified in the review are ones that Capital Metro has already begun addressing. Here is the statement Capital Metro has issued regarding the report. Our Board Chairman Mike Martinez and Interim President and CEO Doug Allen will talk to the media at a roundtable this afternoon.
Capital Metro Receives Sunset Advisory Commission Staff Report
(Austin, Texas – April 23, 2010) Today the Sunset Advisory Commission released its staff report of Capital Metro.
“Sunset’s review has been an illuminating process, and I’m committed to working with the community, the Board and staff to implement the recommendations and transform Capital Metro into a respected, effective and efficient transportation provider,” said Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez, chair of Capital Metro’s Board of Directors.
The report identified four key focus areas: Finance, Labor, Rail and Board Governance. Many recommendations are consistent with the major goals for the year identified when the new Board of Directors started in January 2010.
Capital Metro staff and Board members already have taken steps to make improvements in these areas over the past few months. For example:
• Rail: Comprehensive safety plan including bridges; hiring a rail director; improved contract management processes
• Finance: New procedures to budget and manage reserves effectively; implementation of capital project planning improvements as identified by Capital Metro’s internal audit
• Labor: Board established a Labor Committee to direct staff to begin exploring StarTran structure options
• Board Governance: Board established several new committees and called for a more robust public input process
• Quarter Cent Program: Capital Metro and City of Austin approved amendments to the Interlocal agreement
Staff and Board members will work closely to evaluate the Sunset recommendations, chart a course of action and keep the community informed.
“This report has made many good recommendations on how to strengthen and improve Capital Metro,” said interim President/CEO Doug Allen. “We will use the Sunset review as an opportunity to continue positive change in our agency.”
Sunset Review Process – Next Steps
Management Response: Capital Metro will formally respond to the Sunset report in writing by May 6.
Public Hearing: The Sunset Advisory Commission will schedule a hearing for either May 25 or May 26 where Sunset staff will present their findings and recommendations. The Commission will hear public testimony from anyone wishing to speak. Capital Metro also will have an opportunity to address the Commission.
Sunset Commission Decision: In early July, the Commission will meet to discuss the staff report and may adopt any statutory recommendations (Sunset bills).
82nd Legislature: Any Sunset bills related to Capital Metro will be introduced and considered during the legislative session (January – May 2011).
Sunset Review Process – History
Senate Bill 1263, passed in 2009, required the Sunset Advisory Commission to “evaluate the governance, management, and operations of Capital Metro to determine what improvements are needed to ensure that Capital Metro operates efficiently and effectively.” However, unlike state agencies, Capital Metro is not subject to abolishment as a result of this review. Information about the Sunset process is available at www.sunset.state.tx.us.