Thursday, February 9, 2012
Neil rationalizes his unethical behavior
This morning, I rolled out an initial budget proposal to the Board and public that outlines fare increases and service cuts for the next fiscal year to help close a $17 million shortfall. It is very possible that some of your customers may voice their unhappiness about these proposed changes. Amidst a difficult economy and tepid job market, the changes we propose may be a hardship for many of our customers. In educating the public about our budget shortfall, I have had to acknowledge that our healthcare benefits for union employees and retirees are simply out of step with the rest of Oregon’s public sector and with transit agencies nationwide and that the ever increasing costs are having a significant impact on our budget. I regret this public conversation may seem personal, so I want to assure you that I have the greatest respect for each of you who come to work every day and give your best.
I look forward to the day when federal funding and payroll taxes returns to historical levels. However, for now, we have a budget deadline and Oregon law that requires us to submit a balanced budget to the Board. Without fare increases and service cuts the budget simply will not balance.
In the days ahead we will need to pull together, find common ground and solve this potential crisis. I count on you to always do what’s best and you seldom disappoint.