CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

 

REGULAR BOARD MEETING

MINUTES

pdf version 

April 27, 2009

4:00 PM

STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH BUILDING

Room 241, 243 S. Allen Street, State College, PA

 

 

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:          John Spychalski, Chairman

Joseph L. Davidson, Vice Chairman

                                                            Richard Kipp, Treasurer

                        Gary Powers

                                                            Kathryn Bittner

 

STAFF PRESENT:                               Hugh Mose, General Manager

                                                            Sherry Snyder, Asst. Director of Transportation

Judith Minor, Director of Administration

                                                            Eric Bernier, Service Development Manager

                                                            Julie Hartley, Human Resource Manager

                                                            Jackie Sheader, Marketing Manager

                                                            Marsha Kyper, Assistant to the General Manager

                                   

 

I.          CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:00 PM.  The Chairman noted that an Executive Session had been held on March 31, 2009 to discuss personnel matters.

 

II.         PUBLIC COMMENTS

            There were no public comments.

III.               OLD BUSINESS

 

A.         Approval of March 17, 2009 Board Work Session Minutes

Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to approve the March 17, 2009 Board Work Session minutes.  Richard Kipp moved to approve the minutes and Gary Powers seconded.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

B.                  Approval of March 23, 2009 Regular Board Meeting Minutes

Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to approve the March 23, 2009 Regular Board Meeting minutes.  Gary Powers moved to approve the minutes and Richard Kipp seconded.  The motion carried unanimously with corrections noted.  Under Policy Adoption, add recommended that and be tabled to the second sentence and under Bid Award change the to a in the third sentence.

 

C.                 Receipt of the March 2009 Financial Reports

Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to receive the March 2009 Financial Reports.  Richard Kipp moved to receive the Financial Reports and Gary Powers seconded.

Judi Minor reported that fuel costs were low due to the CNG tax credit program.  Hugh Mose commented that unless Congress extends the program it will run out at the end of 2009.  Sherry Snyder explained that the higher Drivers’ Labor figure was due to overtime resulting from voluntary and involuntary terminations.  Hugh reported that Driver Benefits are lower for the same reasons.  Joe Davidson commented about the price of natural gas versus what was budgeted. 

 

Hugh Mose reported that: ridership on CENTRELINE is up 7% and LOOP and LINK is up 8%, but that the date of Easter this year artificially inflated the March figures;

the number of riders in the Free Fare zone is lower than last year; the paratransit ridership is the same as the corresponding month last year; individual One-Pass and Ride-for-Five sales are ahead of this month, last year, by double digits; and that CENTRE COMMUTE was slightly better than breaking even for the month of March, with vehicle maintenance being higher on the vehicles with the highest mileage.

 

With no further discussion, the motion carried unanimously.

 

D.                 Policy Review and Adoption

Chairman Spychalski stated that under this section the Board would review and provide comments on the selected policies and that there would be one item, (Criminal History Records Investigation Policy review and adoption) requiring Board action. 

 

Kathryn Bittner requested that the words “to the employee” be added to the Modified/Alternative Duty Policy for Work-Related Injury/Illness. Joe Davidson requested that Julie Hartley review the changes in this policy.  Julie noted that the additions in red include language consistent with CATA’s Insurance Pool standards.  Hugh commented that the Insurance Pool is working to standardize language among members and that the changes in the CATA documents reflect additions to existing language in order to be consistent with member policies. Chairman Spychalski suggested two editorial changes:  to add the words CATA designated physician to paragraph eight, page one, and to add of employees to page eight under Transit Pass Program, bullet number four. 

 

Kathryn Bittner inquired as to whether there should be a more extensive list of examples of sexual harassment under the Sexual Harassment Policy to lessen the chances of an employee claiming innocence because their behavior was not listed.  Judi Minor responded that there is a sentence included stating that “this list is not all inclusive” in order to address that possibility.  Julie Hartley commented that the Insurance Pool recommends combining the Sexual Harassment and Unlawful Harassment Policies into one. 

 

Joe Davidson inquired about the local travel policy regarding non-reimbursement for personal vehicle use less than ten miles.  Julie Harley responded that it is consistent with the personnel policy. Hugh Mose and Judi Minor both commented that the policy was developed to address employee requests to be reimbursed for incidental use of personal vehicles. With no further discussion the suggestions by Board members were noted and will be acted on by the CATA staff.

 

Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to adopt the Criminal History Records Investigation Policy as presented.  Richard Kipp moved and Kathryn Bittner seconded.    

 

Hugh Mose reported that adoption of this policy had been tabled at the previous Board meeting because Julie Hartley was absent, and that the language has since been simplified.  Joe Davidson inquired as to whether an internal applicant is disqualified if they do not authorize a background check.  Julie Hartley and Judi Minor responded that, yes, an internal applicant who does not authorize a background check is disqualified as a candidate. 

 

With no further discussion the motion carried unanimously. 

 

E.                  Adoption of the FY 2008/2009 Service Plan

Eric Bernier reviewed the highlights of his written report.  Chairman Spychalski inquired as to whether the changes in service are in response to public comment received.  Eric responded “yes.”  Richard Kipp inquired as to whether extended service to Willowbrook had been requested.  Eric responded that we have received a request from one resident, and that the adjacent B (Boalsburg) Route will be moved closer to regular riders. Gary Powers inquired as to how CATA will reach riders of the G (Gray’s Woods) Route to let them know about the route change.  Eric responded that is would be through Geisinger, and in the usual ways, including the newsletter.  Jackie Sheader responded that information will be posted on buses.  Joe Davidson questioned how he should explain to College Township officials why service to East Brach Road did not get reinstated.  Eric answered that there were few requests for it, and that it is not a priority given the formula used to focus priorities. Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to adopt the proposed service changes as presented.  Richard Kipp moved and Joe Davidson seconded.  With no further discussion, the motion carried unanimously.

 

F.                  Budget Update

 

Hugh Mose commented on the quality of the document and expressed appreciation to the staff who produced it.  He noted that few comments had been received at the COG Finance Committee meeting, perhaps due to the fact that there is little change in the local shares.  The COG has forwarded the Budget to the General Forum, which is expected to forward it to the individual municipalities.  The CATA staff will then attend meetings with those funding partners to answer questions.  Hugh does not foresee any issues and believes that the Budget will be ready for final adoption at the June 1, 2009 Board meeting.

 

Joe Davidson inquired as to whether the statement on the Budget cover memo, “we will initiate regional commuter bus service in at least one of three corridors leading into the Centre Region” was too aggressive.  Hugh responded that the statement is preceded by the statement “if we can secure state and/or federal assistance,” but that he will look for opportunities to soften his statement during meetings with municipal officials. 

 

V.        NEW BUSINESS

 

A.      Federal Earmark Request – Public Comment

 

Hugh Mose stated that CATA submits a request for discretionary funding nearly every year.  This year in addition to the annual Transportation Appropriations process, CATA is requesting an earmark in the Reauthorization of SAFETEA-LU, the underlying surface transportation legislation. The proposed project is the expansion of the bus maintenance, servicing and storage areas of CATA’s Cato Park facility.

 

Hugh Mose reported that in response to recent scrutiny of “earmarks,” this item was included on the agenda to document CATA’s efforts to provide more opportunity for public comment, and to document that CATA has made requests to Representative Thompson, and Senators Casey and Specter.  Chairman Spychalski opened the floor for public comment. No public comment was made.

 

 

VI.       OTHER BUSINESS

 

A.                  General Manager’s Report

Hugh Mose highlighted the fact that CATA has been designated for a $1.0 million earmark in Representative Thompson’s 2009-2010 Appropriations request.  This is different from the Reauthorization earmark request discussed earlier.  He also stated that we are winding down to start Reduced Service and that new procurements include the tire lease and two Taurus sedans, for which Mark Kutzer indicated no bids have been received. The paratransit RFP should be in the paper this week and the staff is very close to completing the technical specifications for the procurement of 10 new buses.

 

Hugh, Julie Hartley and Judi Minor commented on the new 65% subsidy CATA will receive for employees who are eligible to purchase healthcare under COBRA while in

layoff status.  Joe Davidson inquired about the effect on the budget.  Judi responded that it would have no effect as CATA will eventually get the 65% back.

 

Jackie Sheader added that CATA had recently received a Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence for the CENTRE COMMUTE program, and that an Employee Appreciation Barbecue is being held on Thursday, May 7.

 

Chairman Spychalski and Joe Davidson inquired about the status of the Rebranding Project.  Jackie Sheader provided an update, indicating that the Rebranding Committee members did not like any of the bus paint schemes developed by the consultant as much as CATA’s current look.  However, recently several ideas have been developed in-house that are very promising.  Three will be put on mockups using CAD. Hugh Mose stated that the choice is being narrowed down to one final recommendation for the Board, but that if the Board prefers, staff can return with more than one option for their consideration. Gary Powers indicated that South Hills Business School has CAD and that he thought they would be very interested in the project.

 

Hugh Mose requested a brief Executive Session following the General Meeting.

 

B.                  Service Development Report

Eric Bernier stated that he had provided a written report in the Board packets.  Eric commented on the Woodycrest developer’s willingness to consider transit needs in their plans.  Gary Powers inquired about the electronic signage at the Pattee Transit Center.  Eric responded that they are up and running and that the problem was a communication issue within the radio itself.   Joe Davidson inquired about the new iPhone application and how many are being sold and whether CATA is receiving a cut.  Eric responded that the staff does not know how many are being sold and that although CATA has an agreement with the student who developed the app, it was decided not to include a revenue share.

 

VII.      ADJOURNMENT

Chairman Spychalski called for a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Gary Powers moved to adjourn the meeting.  Richard Kipp seconded.  The meeting was adjourned at 5:25 PM.

 

VIII.     EXECUTIVE SESSION
            An Executive Session was held to discuss personnel matters.