Wednesday, July 9, 2014


The mainstream media enjoys running stories about transit snafus, especially the mistakes that bus and rail operators fall into. Bus operator is one of the most misunderstood professions in America. Its very easy to make mistakes when operating a transit vehicle.

What the mainstream media hardly gives any notice to is the behavior and foul ups of the people running the bureaucracy. Very few stories appear in the mainstream about management screw ups

And there has been no comprehensive coverage looking deep into management culture at Trimet.
This article looks at some of the stories that concern the executive culture at Trimet

The  question that should be asked is can we trust the people in charge of our transit system to do the right thing?

The short answer is no:

The non funded obligations! How did they get there?
Yet, in the bigger picture; no one has asked the question, “When the obligation reached 1 million dollars, why didn’t the company stop the expansion?”  “When the obligation reached 10 million dollars, why didn’t the company stop the expansion?”  “When the obligation reached 100 million dollars, why didn’t the company stop the expansion?”  “When the obligation reached 500 million dollars, why didn’t the company stop the expansion?”  “When the obligation reached 900 million dollars, why didn’t the company stop the expansion?

Robbing the bus to pay the rail
Not once was Trimet management honest about their realocating direct service funds from bus to rail. Yet that is what they did. They restructured all of Trimet and never bothered to publicly admit this was the grand plan.
Read more about this here!

Unethical labor practices
The union side of these so called negotiations gets zero coverage in the mainstream media. All the media does is spit back official Trimet information as in: Trimet union employees have the richest health care in the country.  There is no history as to why union employees have good coverage and no context is given. Trimet has had no intention of 'negotiating' anything. They have their position and that's that. They are happy to wait for the arbitration hearing so they can cry poverty (even while handing bonuses out to themselves) and wait for the decision in their favor. The ATU was suckered by the slick talking Fred Hansen who concocted a name for himself and a big fat pension before skip jumping to Australia leaving Mcfarlane to do the dirty work.
Read more Here!  

Mcfarlane practices non of the things in this slogan

Unreliable Ticket machines and passing through the responsibility for that to riders.
One of the major ethical flaws of the Trimet organization. While Trimet brags about their cell phone app they have failed miserably in there TVM collections. There answer to this miserable failure is to spend another $30 million on what they say is a 'state of the art' system down the road. Meanwhile MAX riders are continually punished for the inability of Trimet  to keep these machines in good working order. Trimet actually demands riders get off at the next station to buy their tickets. Of course this creates serious delays in the riders journey, but its either that or face a $175 fine. Truly a policy which is an abomination.
Read more about this here!

 Trimet public records are a joke.
Not only does Trimet charge ridiculously high fees for records ,many records that are in the public interest are classified  'exempt'. Only an unethical organization would go out of its way to impede the decimation of public documents. In many cases Trimet releases the information but in an unreadable format!  Trimet is the most secretive of all the transit agencies in North America.
Read more about this here   
And here!

Trimet's contractual bidding process
There has never been an in depth analysis or audit of the billions that have gone through Trimet for all the rail construction. Most of this money gets filtered right to Stacy&Witbek, who have been charged with corruption in the past. A forensic audit of all the contracts and tracing of all monies to actual people should be performed in the public interest. Will it be? Not very likely
Read more about Stacy&Witbek Here

Making up explanations that don't make sense
Quite often things will happen on the transit system that require an 'official' explanation. The question is can we trust these official explanations. Remember the incident in which a MAX train was speeding down the track with one of its doors wide open. It turned out the explanation was bogus which then leads us to wonder about all of Trimet's explanations.
Read more about the max door and Trimet's absurd explanation. 

Senseless Furniture purchases
Over a million dollars for furniture? The Trimet explanation "it's cheaper to buy new furniture than to move the old furniture" Pleeeze!
Read more about Trimet's executives new furniture 

Banning the bloggers!
Back when the Trimet and the union were grandstanding and challenging each other with proposals they knew would never happen Trimet made sure that only favorable persons would be able to cover any 'negotiations'. Trimet has always been the leader in transit false propaganda no dissent is allowed.  
Read more about Trimet's banning of bloggers

Stealing money from employees paychecks and refusing to pay it back.
In 2009 Trimet in a hysterical fit decided that their union employees should be penalized for their union leadership refusing to cave into Trimet demands. Trimet executives then illegally STOLE money out of employee paychecks and even after a court order they continue to withhold the money
Read more about Trimet's illegal seizure of employee pay

Publicly making their front line employees the enemy in the public eye
Perhaps the most heinous of the ethical lapses is Trimet managements public war on its employees. Generally these disputes are brought into the public domain when a labor strike is looming. Trimet and ATU agreed on an arbitration process which precluded the possibility of a strike. Then what possible purpose did it serve Mcfarlane to drag his front line employees through the mud as he has done. The only thing that comes to mind is to distract the public from management misdeeds 
and real issues involving the transit system of Portland

Read more about Mcfarlane dragging his front line employees through the muck

Attempting to force employees to PAY BACK TRIMET for benefits received.
In an outrageous attempt to flex their unaccountable power Mcfarlane and his gang actually had the gall to try to make employees pay back the billion dollar agency for health benefits already received.
Needless to say it was illegal according to a court of law.
Read more about this outrageous illegal behavior   

Stealing money from Trimet riders by making all the older tickets worthless
When Trimet changed it's zone structure it also decided that all the tickets that were already in circulation were worthless. Undoubtedly thousands of tickets went unused and riders were forced to buy new tickets. It was a cold calculated attempt to bleed more money out of the Trimet riders.
Read more about making tickets worthless

Scare Tatics 
Trimet management routinely makes outrageous claims about their budget. Trimet in its attempt to break the union and scare the public actually claimed that they were going to cut service by 70% in 2025! We haven't heard anymore of that since that tactic failed. And now Trimet has restored some of the service that they cut. Its all about manipulating public opinion
Read more about Trimet scare techniques  

The Globesherpa cell phone app was a stealth fare increase
A $5 minimum purchase makes this a stealth fare increase. Public transit should be 'pay as you go' not pay in advance. The cell phone app particularly penalizes low income riders who may not have $5 to pay for a fare. An ex Trimet executive quit Trimet and is part of the Globesherpa management,
Carolyn Young. The cronyism at Trimet is monumental.

Read more about the cell phone app 

Stacking the Trimet board
Only bureaucrats and Kitzhaber cronies need apply. If you're a light rail supporter you have a chance, critics are not allowed on the Trimet board.
Read more about the cronies that make up the Trimet board

The Fareless boundaries when they existed
Trimet took great pleasure in setting up entrapment operations especially at events that were occurring at Civic Stadium. The basically set up gill netting operations with their army of white shirted fare flunkies.
Read more about Trimet abuse of riders

Passing blame for financial problems on employees
Every single 'news release' that comes from Trimet blames its employees for any and all financial problems. Interestingly its the Trimet management that allowed all these things to occur. The public, unaware of the reality, buys the Trimet nonsense completely.
Read more about Mcfarlanes scapegoating

Persecution and banishment of Lane Jensen
Everybody knew that Lane Jensen was a pain in the ass and one of the more tactless citizens. But in order to get rid of him Trimet executives concocted a phony 'harassment' claim against him. Using the iron fist of the police state they squashed him like a bug. It's one of the more despicable moves by these unrepentant and immoral Trimet managers.
Read more about the persecution of Lane Jensen

Completely changing all the routing for buses in 2012
Why did they do it? Why was it necessary to to completely reconfigure the bus system. Nobody but the insiders know that answer. Most of us think it was an attempt to boost MAX ridership which has been faltering.
Read more about the destruction of a perfectly good transit system and read even  more here

The phony bridge naming contest
Trimet lead the public to  believe that they would have a say in naming that new bridge. Kirk Reeves won the public vote but Trimet then disclosed that there would be no popular vote. As a matter of fact the winner of the popular vote was not even considered as a potential name at all. It was all nothing but a shameless PR event.
Read more about the sham bridge naming contest

Trimet's disgraceful treatment of the activist group OPAL
For two years OPAL had lobbied for a longer transfer. Trimet executives met with them over and over each group showered compliments on each other publicly. But for some reason none of these meetings ever made it to the board of directors for action. And then after OPAL filed a civil rights complaint Trimet executives decided to hold the OPAL transfer proposal hostage. They even went so far as to publicly state that if OPAL dropped the Title 6 complaint then they would move forward on the extended transfer. That's pure blackmail
Read more about Trimet's disgraceful treatment of OPAL

The Trimet secret executive raises
Mcfarlane and his gang of henchmen pleaded poverty in 2012 , slashed service and raised fares beyond anything that Trimet riders had seen before. What nobody knew while this was going on that Mcfarlane had hidden nice raises for himself and all his six figure executives. When the truth finally came out it indited the Trimet board as co-conspirators in this scheme. No penalty was ever paid. An 'audit' was ordered by the state legislature but that turned out to be nothing but a coverup. The secretary of state took the opportunity to assist Trimet is its union busting declaring that the union benefits were the problem. She never even looked into the secret raises.
Read more about Mcfarlane's stealing raises while raising fares and cutting service

 Withholding evidence from court
A federal judge in an unprecedented move fined Trimet for 'not playing ball' in the federal court case. Of course the fine is paid by the tax payers so what good is it. It's just more evidence that Trimet is run by gangsters who continually flaunt the  laws that the rest of us have to live by.
Read more about Trimet withholding evidence.

1 comment:

  1. Fine post and sadly true. They keep doing it because there is no punihment when they do violate the law. And of course there's the Board of Directors giving them free reign and raises to boot! And as you pointed out , we all pay for it.