Thursday, May 27, 2010

Standard-Examiner: UTA Board Defends Its Salaries For Top Managers

These are not the actions of an ethical and professional executive and agency

By Dorrene Jeske

“UTA board defends salaries for top managers.”
Headline for a well-written article in today's Standard Examiner by Mitch Shaw:
UTA board defends its salaries for top managers
There is no way that the subject salaries can be justified in Utah! Although well-written this article lacks any insightful research or comparisons of other top executive salaries. Several of these “top managers” make more than the Governor of the State!

The UTA is a public agency funded with taxpayers dollars and should have some controls on it set by the State Legislature who provides the funding for the UTA. The UTA handles federal and state funds for transit and transportation projects in the state. What is so disgusting is their strong-arm methods for obtaining taxpayer-approved taxes for projects. Remember last year when they threatened to cut back on the service provided by the FrontRunner to Weber County unless a transit tax was passed by our commissioners? The UTA is ALWAYS threatening to cut back service to the handicapped because they didn’t get the funding that they wanted. Never do they say that they’ll freeze the salaries of their top managers or their annual bonuses which equal their salaries. (Except this year when it came to light how much the bonuses are, did they say that there would be no bonuses paid.) Can you imagine an income of more than a half a million dollars and living in Utah?!

I used to do payroll for a division at Defense Depot Ogden. Personnel included engineers and firefighters whose salaries were tied to a nation-wide pay scale. So I know of what these special pay scales are comprised. One of the components considered was the cost-of-living for the area in which these special employees lived. This criterion was not mentioned in the article about UTA salaries or by Jill Carter, a human resource consultant who conducts UTA’s compensation audits. It is ridiculous that one employee received a 32 percent salary increase in one year, especially when so many are without a job, and numerous people are struggling to make ends meet.

I think that the Legislature needs to be more involved in determining the salaries and bonuses received by UTA employees since they are paid with taxpayer money and the public is often held hostage by the agency to gain the funds that they want. I would like to suggest that the Standard monitor and investigate the more of the activities of the UTA. An agency with the status that UTA enjoys nationwide, should not succumb to the pressure of a tyrannical and mean mayor as they did in 2007 when one of their employee’s supported a mayoral candidate opposing this tyrannical mayor. Also the new Chief Executive Officer John Inglish signed a contract with this mayor without the city council’s knowledge and approval for a gondola study using $63,000. of federal funds that they had received for Ogden’s transportation needs. These are not the actions of an ethical and professional executive and agency.


Curmudgeon said...

Sometimes I wonder about these people in UTA's upper management. They (a) create an entirely new chief executive position for the director, involving a significant raise for someone who is already one of the highest paid public transit CEOs in the nation (b) they elevate someone to take the old job of the director, at a significant raise (c) they do this in a secret meeting and (d) they do it only a couple of months before announcing layoffs of ordinary folks working the buses and trains for UTA.

Jeez Louise, talk about having a tin ear. Who's advising them on public relations? Matt Godfrey?

Missus L. said...

Dorrene, Thanks for an informative look at this issue

malone said...

Yeah, I'm not sure what to think about UTA, don't some to be much of an ethical bunch (IMHO). Seems like everyday a new story comes out about something inappropriate they have done. They don't seem to manage their projects well, they're reluctant to release public information, they make poor decisions - I guess it's their culture (it is a much larger issue than salaries). Something needs to be done to rein them in. Plus their focus lately on transit oriented development is really putting on the strain of what they actually used to be good at - moving people around. I like the new rail transit direction, but not at the expense of everything else. I've long supported UTA and have seen them as a "progressive" group, but not anymore, something needs to be done and this audit is a good place to start cracking down.

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