MARTA Chief Wants New Staff to Manage Audit Implementation

Dec 20, 2012

New MARTA chief Keith Parker takes questions from the transit agency's state oversight committee.

In his first formal appearance before MARTA’s state oversight committee, Keith Parker, the transit agency’s new chief, said he’s taking aggressive steps to overhaul MARTA and put it on a sustainable fiscal path.

“I don’t think any transit system in the country of our size has undertaken quite as big a challenge as this one we have in front of us.”

Parker says he’ll use as a blueprint a recently released audit report prepared by consulting firm KPMG. He vowed to create a new staff position solely responsible for carrying out system changes.

“A full time person whose job it is to wake up and think about how he or she will implement the KPMG recommendations,” said Parker.

The report’s recommendations include privatizing some services and cutting employee health and pension benefits to help plug a $33 million deficit heading into next year.

Republican State Rep. Mike Jacobs, chairman of the MARTA oversight committee, said on its face new staff is not what MARTA needs.

“It’s an expansion of a bureaucracy, so to speak,” said Jacobs. 

But he agreed a new manager could help execute the coming overhaul.

“It is something that has to be properly managed and overseen internally and I’m glad to see MARTA is looking toward implementation,” said Jacobs.

Parker is expected to present his action plan to MARTA’s board and the state oversight committee next month.