Sun Line Resignation of GM Leaves Unanswered Questions
I had a déjà vu moment upon reading the Desert Sun’s article in reference to Sun Line Transit’s resignation of the General Manager, C. Mikel Oglesby.
As a child one of my sons ran up to me and said, “Dad, I did not eat the cookies”. At that moment, no one had knowledge the cookies were missing. A red flag moment. In the article, the new Sun Line Chairman states, “there is no one on this board who can tell the others what to do”. A red flag moment! There was never knowledge of any certain board members role of directing the choir. A Freudian slip?
As the tax payers for public transportation, there is concern of a disconnect between what is going on and what we are being told is going on. The Sun Line board is comprised of “ten politicians”. All of them hold elective office. This by its own nature brings in ego centric personalities who are used to wheeling and dealing to have it their way, much more astute at opportunistic maneuvering than most of us.
The two minority members on the board were not present when the vote for suspension of Oglesby was taken, one did not attend and the other left before the vote. The one who did not attend expressed a concern there had been irregularities. I am not mentioning names because the issue here is why is this happening and all the board members seem to be in lock step agreement. What is at stake?
The response so far is “it was a personnel matter, an employee complained”. Since when does the board step into a management function without even so much as bringing in top management to hear the other side of the issue? Any organization with 300 employees certainly should have a board with a clear understanding of the role of the board and the role of management; it appears this board does not! Personnel matters have a process. Any personnel issue that has streamed through Human Resources and there is still an issue must go to the Personnel Committee of the board who then reports a recommendation to the board and then the board reviews it, calls in the GM for discussion and then makes a final decision. Where is this report? Are we as the taxpayers not entitled to know? Was there even one or was it swept under the rug? Perhaps getting Oglesby to resign was the crux of the matter.
The Sun Line Board went into the meeting to suspend Oglesby who was not in attendance seemingly armed for bear. The question must be asked was there previous discussion amongst the members and enough of them already knew what was going to happen? Who led this pre meeting discussion? This would be a violation which of course would be vehemently denied but logically, the smell test is being invalidated by the board itself. Without accusations, this is a question that must be answered to the satisfaction of those who pay for the existence of Sun Line, that is us, not the board!
Oglesby resignation was inevitable once this process to invalidate his authority as the GM was started. Seemingly, within hours, a replacement was found as an interim GM. By all indications, a very qualified individual but rather odd he was standing by. Who on the board knew him, what is the connection to whom? How much is he being paid officially and unofficially?
In a cursory review of Oglesby’s record, it was discovered he was paying .92 cents per gallon of fuel for the buses and he collects $3 million in fares per year. We as taxpayers need to give this man a raise and keep him not force him out. Has anybody noticed we civilians are paying over $4.00 a gallon for gas? Yes, but he uses innovative fuels which he has aggressively pursued and expanded. That is a negative?
At this point, it seems as though the board of Sun Line needs to be investigated, not the other way around. Ten politicians, together running a bus and taxi service is a dangerous combination and even though this is what we are stuck with, we do not have to like it. We do have to understand it and know there most likely are shenanigans going on none of us are privy to with no substantial oversight.
I have talked to members of the board and it is interesting how supposedly none of them knew this was going to happen yet they were all ready when it happened; either with a vote or an excuse for not being there. Every politician on that board had a bone to pick with Oglesby; it must have been a big one!
Al Vasquez-Opinion Journalist-www.thehispanicvoice.com