Thursday, November 20, 2008
DART is overall a good agency. It is struggling with leadership just as Dallas ISD is struggling. If the person at the top is not competent, the administrative staff is usually lacking. Gary Thomas by all accounts appear to be a good person, but in over his head as the president of DART. When the comparison to Dick Rudell at the "T" in Fort Worth and Gary Thomas at DART is made there is a big difference in their leadership style and ability. You never hear about scandals at the "T" as you do at DART. That does not mean that things may or may not be going wrong at The "T", but the leadership seems to keep things running smoothly.
Part of the reason that DART struggles, is that the mayor of Dallas,Tom Leppert, and city council members like Dwaine (Dewayne,Dwayne) Caraway are interfering with the daily operations of the agency. Things like, Caraway attempting to get the DART board to focus on getting rail to come to the Cedar Crest Golf Course near his house instead of sticking with the current 20 year plan which focus on the access to the Inland Port that has estimated 30,000 jobs will be created. Would you want to get to a golf course or a job via rail? And there is the mayor calling DART Board members telling them how to vote on the pending Bus purchase. It has been said that he is telling the Dallas appointees to vote for natural gas buses which would be fueled by Clean Energy a company owned by T. Boone Pickens.
Now you have the DART President, Gary Thomas,some members of his staff and some of the board members not being good stewards of the taxpayers money when they attend conventions. It is so easy to do the right thing by attending the meetings and finding additional time to attend other functions.
DART also has to deal with its suburban board members who are more politically savvy than the Dallas appointees. They are making sure that DART's president stay in place as long as he is giving them what they want, and that is to make sure that the light rail build out to their cities is on time. It does not have to be on budget, because they are willing to spend more to get it to their cities on time.
And surely the last straw was the allegations that DART Executive Vice President Ben Gomez is telling Human Resources staff to hire Hispanics only. What a shame. Why not hire the best person for the job?
The plan for a regional transportation authority to take over DART,The "T" and Denton County Transit Authority is moving forward with all due speed, and the citizens of Dallas will loose the most because all of the long range plans for DART will go out the window and the planning of new service and building of rail will be to the outlying communities.
Wake up Dallas!