PCAC Testimony – August 16, 2019 – Organizational Change Should Be Bottom Up

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Good afternoon, I am Sheila Binesh, Transportation Planner at the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC). The MTA’s Transformation Plan addresses many issues and makes several good recommendations, however there are still some unanswered questions that should be addressed as the plan goes from blueprint to implementation.

The plan recommends taking critical responsibilities away from the agency presidents. By looking at the org chart, the agency presidents have been sidelined with departments reporting directly to the MTA CEO and Chief Transformation Officer. For example, in the “Risk Management Overview” section, the only coordination mentioned with the agency presidents is to “certify, and re-certify” recommendations from the Inspector General and Audit Services. Collaboration among departments with agency presidents is crucial for a well-functioning organization. Therefore, we recommend empowering agency presidents to act and create more opportunities for coordination with and among their departments.

Also, key players have been largely left out of the plan’s development: MTA workers at every level; and as importantly, the riding public. With only .1% of the 75,000 MTA employees being interviewed, AlixPartners did not get a comprehensive view of worker sentiments and concerns. Why wasn’t a survey used to capture valuable input from all MTA employees? Change from the bottom-up is more impactful and sustainable. We recommend that the MTA detail a plan of improved employee engagement to better identify areas of concern to help boost staff morale.

Last, but most definitely not least are the MTA riders. There must be a 45-day public comment period. After all, the reason this reorg is happening is to provide the service New Yorkers deserve. Without a single mention of “riders” or “commuters,” the plan clearly shows a lack of commitment to riders. We recommend conducting townhalls to engage in real dialogue with riders during the comment period.

Thank you.

Full statement here: 8.16.19 Special Board Meeting

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