Saturday, February 25, 2012

Serious Problems Plague Augusta's Private Contractor of Public Transit

Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012
Augusta, GA
From Reports

City Stink reporters along with other members of the media were invited to sit down with Commissioner Bill Lockett for a presentation concerning Mobility Transit, the company that is now managing Augusta's city bus service. To say that Commissioner Lockett was upset about the recent shenanigans of this company would be an understatement . He poured over pages and pages of notes that he had taken obviously from many conversations that he has had with disgruntled employees, trainees, and bus riders.

It was his intent to make the media aware of what all has been going on since the city outsourced it's public bus service. The picture he painted for us was not a pretty one. He succeeded in piquing our interest as reporters to investigate the allegations that he was presenting to us. Investigative journalism is certainly not at a premium in Augusta so this story looked like another good one for City Stink to look into. Following will be a brief overview of the reported problems as told to Commissioner Lockett by many who have been affected by what appears to be total ineptness of this company. We at City Stink will need a bit more time to piece together just who this company is, and why they were chosen for the job. Looks to be another interesting Augusta saga.

Mobility Transit is a company out of Knoxville, Tennessee that claims that they contract with cities to manage and operate public transit. The thing that I found most interesting is when you do an internet search on this company the first page that comes up says,"Mobility opens it's doors in Augusta as APT's new transit operator." Hmmm. Interesting first page for a company website. The other thing that I found interesting was the city of Augusta began business with them in August, we are almost into March and this is still up on their website. Kind of interesting that claims that they have gotten so many recent contracts that they can't keep up with the financial end of the job. Maybe this is why the power was turned off at the Broad Street station last week.

What we know:
Preliminary searches for information shows us that Kevin J. Adams is the President and CEO of the company. Mike Rosson is the agent of record for the LLC as registered with the State of Georgia on 6/17/11. The filing address is listed as 1535 Fenwick Street which doesn't seem to exist, and attorney of record is Alan I. Shanahan who is in Michigan. Another interesting address associated with this company is 1800 Hickory Glenn Rd. Knoxville, Tennessee. When using google maps, it appears to be a house out in the country. Another Hmmm.

What We Have Been Hearing:
Now to share what we are hearing which certainly warrants further investigation: These are the complaints that have been reported to us about Mobility Transit.:
*Employees who are new trainees will make $25 per day during their two weeks of training and upon  completion will receive a $750 bonus. If training is not completed, their is no pay.

*Employees were taken off hourly wage and became salaried after it was noted that some were working 30 and 40 hours of overtime.

*The jobs of mechanic, tire maintenance, and general maintenance were replaced with one employee making $11 an hour. A mechanic's hourly wage previously was $17.50.

*There is one employee handbook that is specifically for bus drivers but is used as well for all other employees.

*Mobility Transit inherited $200,000 in bus parts and declared them obsolete asking the city to replace them. The company also supposedly runs a side job selling scrap metal.

*Employee health benefits and life insurance benefits were cut off for non payment.

*Business License is dated February 7, 2012 when the company has been operating since August 1, 2011.

*Vendors claiming that they have not been paid for their services are: Ga. Power, NAPA,Truck Parts Specialists, A and W Oil, GNK Uniform Service, and Fleet Care.

*Some management level employees paid rank and file employees out of their own pockets.

 It doesn't seem that anyone associated with this company and it's way of doing business is happy with the way things are going. Employees as well as bus riders are filing complaints which have gone unanswered as turn over has escalated, forcing more and more overtime for fewer and fewer bus drivers.

I guess one would have to agree that this is quite a list of problems for a company that advertised themselves as totally solvent as well as experienced in running an operation of this magnitude. All of this begs the question; How in the world did procurement choose this company, and how much research was done to make sure that what they put in their application and contract was true? City Stink will continue to follow this situation closely until we are satisfied that all of our suspicions have been researched. We will keep you informed as we continue our investigation.***

1 comment:

CSRA1online said...

From now until, maybe we should always ask of Fred these questions after he speaks in public or at a commissioned sanctioned meeting.
1. Is this documented?
2. Is this truthful and accurate?
3. Have you signed this report or finding?
4. Are you submitting this as information or opinion to the commission?