Watch the CEO Candidate Forum

Yesterday, the Capital Metro Board of Directors hosted a public forum with the two finalists for the CEO position, Deborah Wathen Finn and Linda S. Watson.  Members of the community were able to meet the candidates and ask some important questions about how they would lead Capital Metro.  The forum was recorded by Channel 6 and you can watch here.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

After watching the video, please tell us what you think.  What are the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate?  The  Board wants to hear from you.  Send your comments to tashina.pham@capmetro.org by Friday, May 21.

13 thoughts on “Watch the CEO Candidate Forum

  1. Hoot

    Well, if the gal from Florida thinks the application process is rigorous and if she thinks a $2M grant is a big whoopy, then I have some concerns. But she was thoughtful, spoke the local “Language” and has a lot of experience managing a transit company.

    The Jersey gal sorta rambled…but consider the questions and the audience. She seemed to have a lot more energy. But Texans get their kicks by putting down New York City and making fun of the east coast, so she would have a lot of trouble with the good old boys and dons that make up Austin politics.

    Whichever one makes it, expect to spend all the money on helping the handicapped. If you can drive a car, looks like you better.

  2. Erik

    There were a lot of positives in this dialogue, so I’m not going to focus on that, but instead outline some perceived shortcomings:

    Linda stated that route frequency (sometimes only hourly) and funding for accessibility (less than what Austin provides) is lacking severely in her existing organization. I believe this to mean much work still remains in her current role, so what faith does that give us w/ the same priorities? (What I’d like to know is, how much of a percentage in salary increase would this position offer her? Point being, if the quality of service she’s managed within Orlando doesn’t match that of Austin, why should we give her an substantial increase in pay — let’s say, greater than 15% +/- cost of living?). Her admitted lack of effort in making use of public transit for her daily life was of great concern. Additionally, the adoption and subsequent removal of upgraded 3-bike racks to 2-bike facilities on her buses doesn’t seem very logical.

    Deborah seemed a little combative/unfriendly at times, but that’s likely because she’s from the northeast 😉 Her business-sense on the surface seems to come more from a consultancy perspective, which can be both a negative and a positive. On the plus side, it’s less politics and more analytical. We could definitely use more logic in this community, and in a position of leadership with the community/consumer as the majority investors.

    Thanks for taking the time.

  3. Steven

    Erik,

    The three trie bike racks block the head light and reduces the visability for the driver. One accident with this type of bike rack system will be million dollar law suit.

    1. Erik

      Do you have evidence of this ‘safety threat?’

      The following PDF shows a partial list of folks using one made by Sportworks: http://www.bicycleracks.com/pdf/Trilogy_DL2_Abbr_Customer_RefList.pdf

      From the manufacturer’s website: “In 2002 we introduced the TrilogyTM three position bicycle rack. This rack boasts the same features as our original, proven, DL2 bike-rack-for-buses. The protrusion distance (how far it sticks out when deployed) is nearly identical to the DL2, two bike rack. The rack is wider than the DL2 allowing it to accommodate three bikes in slightly elevated and offset positions. The bikes sit slightly closer together yet still maintain the ability to be loaded and unloaded independently of one another. Currently we have shipped in excess of 1000 of these racks out our door and have been well received.”

      There appears to be competition from another manufacturer as well, which Seattle’s King County Metro just installed this spring: http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/bike/rackfaq.html

      “Metro is converting its entire bus fleet to three-position bike racks to increase bicycle-carrying capacity. The new bike racks also accommodate more sizes and types of bikes than the old, two-position racks.”

  4. Steven

    Erik,

    First of all I do not sell products for any company.

    Secondly, you asked “Additionally, the adoption and subsequent removal of upgraded 3-bike racks to 2-bike facilities on her buses doesn’t seem very logical.” I was just offering why one may remove the system or not have the system in their City.

    Safety, security and more important the risk of loss to my City is what is important to me.
    I have placed bikes on both rack systems and the tires from the bikes on both sides of the 3 rack systems DOES sit in front of both head lights.
    Now, any attorney worth his/her salt, would go for the easiest ‘”Kill” reduced visibility’ because of tires in front of the head lights “may be a point in a lawsuit”. Union officers could say “the accident was caused because of (reduced visibility) to ensure their driver was not fired because of lack of the real reason the driver had a lack concentration or what ever was the real reason for the accident.”
    You have stated “The rack is wider than the DL2 allowing it to accommodate three bikes in slightly elevated and offset positions. The bikes sit slightly closer together yet still maintain the ability to be loaded and unloaded independently of one another”
    If you go to your reference site list an watch the video you can clearly see that the tires and plastic holders do indeed set in front of the buses head lights. http://metro.kingcounty.gov/tops/bike/rackfaq.html
    The question remains will this happen “maybe or maybe not”
    As far as I am concerned the risk is not one I am willing to take.

  5. Erica

    Aside from blocking the headlights, the three tier rack is problematic for loading that middle bike–the one that would be on the street side of the bus. The video referenced in the comments from King County illustrates the potential dangers–if you aren’t careful, you will be stepping out into traffic in order to load your bike. In order to load it safely, you have to swing your bike around the front bike, twisting your body around… unless you have one of those fancy uber lightweight bikes, I can see how it might be difficult to do–either because the bike becomes too heavy in that position, or you run the risk of hurting your back.

    Finally, and this is also apparent in the video, in order to load that middle bike, realistically the third bike spot (the one closest to the bus) has to be empty. Since most riders are not going to be keen on using that middle slot (because they don’t wan to hurt themselves or risk being too close to traffic), I suspect a lot of folks load their bikes in this order:
    1. front most rack (farthest from bus)
    2. back most rack (closest to bus)
    3. middle rack

    But you can see clearly that if the front and back racks are full, the middle rack is basically not usable… defeating the purpose of the three-bike rack anyway.

  6. Erik

    If a 3-rack is blocking headlights, then the 2-rack is also just as much of a “safety” threat.

    I disagree that people will load front-most, then rear-most, and then ignore the middle altogether. On the existing 2-bike racks we use here in Austin, people typically load rear-most first.

    Anyway, let’s at least have someone from CapMetro get in contact with King County (or others) to gather real-world data.

  7. Steven

    Erik,

    Your quote “then the 2-rack is also just as much of a “safety” threat.”
    The 2-rack system sits in front of the bus and does not block the head lights. So, it does not have the same safety concerns as a three and four rack systems.

    I hope in the future transit can find a bike restraint system that everyone can use that prevent injury, and reduce the possiblility of law suits.

    Happy riding Erik.

  8. Don

    Enjoyed the interaction. Ms. Watson seems a lot more knowledgeable about the transit industry, giving direct answers to questions. In addition, she has worked in two southern states, which is an advantage, since folks from the Northeast think differently about transportation because of dense land use, congested urban areas, and very high parking costs. Public transportation is a different mindset here in the south.

    Ms. Finn seemed confident in her opening remarks but soon babbled in the question/answer session. She paced the room, taking questions walking back and forth. That was good. She seems very big on policies and regulations, which is not very adaptive, given the state of public transportation today. She is big on transportation integration, which is good.

    Overall, I must commend Cap Metro for putting together this forum because it gives us a good picture on who our future leaders area. Overall, this selection process ia A++.

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  10. Susan

    I know I’m late in responding, but think that Ms. Watson is the best candidate for the job. She has experience with large transit agencies and was able to turn around the agency in Corpus Christi. She is reserved but knows her business and has spent many years in the transit industry at all levels to gain her experience, that was evident with her responses.

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