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October 12, 2009

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NEWS HEADLINES

APTA Board of Directors Unanimous in Passing Governance Proposal at Annual Meeting

The APTA Board of Directors has unanimously approved a set of proposed changes to the association’s governance and committee structure. The vote took place Oct. 4 at the APTA Annual Meeting in Orlando.

Because the proposal requires changes to the APTA bylaws, it must go to a vote of the full membership. Later this month, the designated correspondent for each APTA member will receive a ballot to vote on these changes.

If the proposal is passed, the first slate of members of the new Executive Committee will be elected under this format at the 2010 APTA Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX.

The proposal was developed over the past nine months under the direction of the Governance and Committee Structure Task Force, chaired by Michael S. Townes, APTA chair in 2007-2008 and president/chief executive officer of Hampton Roads Transit, Hampton, VA, and Sharon Greene of Sharon Greene & Associates, Laguna Beach, CA.

APTA Chair M.P. Carter added: “The recommended proposals were designed to support TransitVision 2050 and to broaden opportunities for leadership, better engage the board of directors in the governance of our organization, strengthen and empower our committees, and cultivate the next generation of industry leadership.”

The proposal would alter the structure of the Executive Committee in that the 14 vice chairs would serve without portfolio; previously, each has focused on a particular subject area or mode. The secretary-treasurer and the 14 vice chairs would serve for one three-year term instead of three one-year terms. The Executive Committee would continue to be composed of 18 members, with the positions of chair, first vice chair, and immediate past chair unchanged, although the title “first vice chair” will change to “vice chair.”

Other changes are intended to provide greater balance in the number of public and private members. For the secretary-treasurer and 14 at-large member seats, 10 members would be selected from the public sector and five from the private sector. Among the public members, transit professionals and transit board members would be balanced.

In addition, the plan would alter the makeup of the APTA Board of Directors. A total of 105 potential seats would be available, to include the 20 highest-dues-paying transit members, the 10 highest-dues-paying business members, 30 at-large members (to include at least 10 business members), 26 committee chairs, and the APTA president. The current 25 regional seats would be eliminated.

All at-large board members would serve three-year terms and be expected to attend all board meetings.

Further details of the proposal can be viewed on the APTA web site. Questions can be submitted.

Past Chairs Participate
“Past chairs of APTA have been very active in the governance proposal process,” said Greene at the Oct. 5 APTA Governance Roundtable session, which she moderated.

Three past chairs spoke at the program: John P. Bartosiewicz, 1999-2000, now executive vice president/chief operating officer, McDonald Transit Associates, Inc. and formerly president/executive director of the Fort Worth Transportation Authority; Celia G. Kupersmith, 2002-2003, general manager of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, and Transportation District in San Francisco and chair of the APTA Waterborne Transit Operations Committee; and Richard A. White, 2003-2004, now executive vice president, AECOM, Arlington, VA, and then general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Also instrumental were past Chairs Leslie White, general manager of Santa Cruz (CA) Metropolitan Transit District; George F. Dixon III, board president, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority; and past APTA Chair Howard Silver, vice board chair of Golden Empire Transit District, Bakersfield, CA.

A Canadian Effort
In Canada, the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) is learning from APTA’s governance and TransitVision 2050 efforts to create its own forward-looking initiative. CUTA Executive Director Michael Roschlau reported on “Transit Vision 2040” at the Oct. 5 governance session.

“The purpose of Transit Vision 2040 is to show that the future has to be shaped, not simply reacted to. We must be proactive, not reactive,” Roschlau said. He explained that CUTA set 2040 as its target year, not 2050 as APTA did, because the organization used a single generation as its benchmark.

The 70-page document “defines a future in which public transit maximizes its contributions to quality of life with benefits that support a vibrant and equitable society, complete and compact community form, dynamic and efficient economy, and a healthy natural environment,” Roschlau said.

He explained that “Canadian society will look very different by 2040,” pointing to larger cities and fewer residents of smaller communities and rural areas; an aging population; increased immigration; and changing lifestyle expectations. “Mobility, or the lack of it, will be a major issue in competitiveness … major metropolitan areas will look for seamlessly integrated transit service, while smaller cities will need to improve their service.”

Information on CUTA’s Transit Vision 2040 is available online.

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