To: Scene Magazine
Re: Response to August 31, 2016 article
RTA strongly disagrees with the erroneous and misleading characterizations of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and our employees, as depicted in Scene’s August 31, 2016 article.
The facts are:
1. RTA has received numerous awards from independent organizations for significant achievements in diversity at every level of the organization, including for Senior Management Diversity, Board Diversity and overall Employment Diversity. RTA will be receiving yet another award for employment diversity during the upcoming annual meeting of the Greater Cleveland Partnership by the Council on Economic Inclusion.
2. RTA has been well recognized for its leadership, success and expertise – by independent, outside observers and experts. The Partnership for Excellence, a three-state organization dedicated to recognizing and rewarding high-performing organizations, recently gave RTA its Silver Award for Commitment to Excellence. That made RTA one of just nine organizations in the Ohio-Indiana-West Virginia region to receive the honor. RTA has been named a SMART 50 organization by Smart Business Magazine. And RTA’s financial discipline and professionalism have helped us earn the Outstanding Budgeting Award from the Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA) for 28 consecutive years, as well as the Achievement in Excellence in Financial Reporting award for our Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the last 29 years. We also have been recognized by the Auditor of State in each of the last two years with his Award of Distinction.
3. We take strongest exception to the inferences and hearsay in the story – with no documented facts – about RTA’s hiring and promotion decisions. We follow policies and a process that demand we hire and promote based on experience, ability and potential. Any reports to the contrary, based on rumor not fact, are an insult to the worthy RTA employees that the Scene story purports to defend.
4. The story included a significant error, indicating that top management employees in the Operations Division are mostly white. The fact is that five out of the six top District Directors, who report directly to Deputy General Manager of Operations Michael York, are African American. That includes the west-side bus district director, who was erroneously referred to in the story as being white. In addition, four out of the five members of her management team are also African American.
5. Many other inaccuracies in the story are related to employment issues that are currently in litigation. Due to that litigation, RTA is not at liberty to discuss the details.
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