Monday, February 6, 2017

Community should have role in hiring MATA's CEO

Chair of Citizens for Better Service publishes letter in the Commercial Appeal

By Johnnie Mosley
I am the first to admit that I am stunned by the dark news about Ron Garrison, former CEO of MATA ("Prostitution sting nets 42," Jan. 28 article). But I am calling upon our elected officials to hold MATA accountable for improving public transportation for all citizens. As chairman of Citizens For Better Service, I continue to hear from bus riders who are sick and tired of MATA cutting bus routes, forcing them to spend up to four hours a day on buses, lose their jobs, and walk numerous blocks to catch a bus.

I also continue to hear from bus riders who are frustrated over MATA turning its back on their concerns.  As we turn our attention toward the future, I hope that this situation will force the MATA board to rethink it hiring process as it relates to hiring a new CEO.

View of the inside of a MATA bus

Long before Mr. Garrison was hired by the MATA in 2014, I felt that the community should have been allowed to participate in the hiring of the CEO. I believe that the board should have allowed citizens to talk to the finalists in community forums.  I am convinced that if the MATA board wants the community to support MATA, the MATA board should allow the community to play a vital role in picking the next transit leader who believes in the citizens of Memphis.

Johnnie Mosley, chairman, Citizens For Better Service, Memphis

Ron Garrison of MATA