After Metro’s two newest board members David Horner and Steve McMillin were sworn in Thursday, union members offered some advice: don’t believe the hype from the transit agency’s leadership.
Assisted with a picture of Kool-Aid, employees said General Manager Paul Wiedefeld has proposed fare increases and cuts and contraction of certain services.
“Since Mr. Wiedefeld became the general manager of Metro, we have heard false claim and false claim,” said Zuir Teshiera, a railcar maintenance operator and member of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689. “The riding public … has no confidence that anything comes from [Metro] leadership is the truth. The riders of this system are not drinking Wiedefeld’s Kool-Aid anymore and this union will continue to make sure that the public knows the truth about what is happening and who is doing it.”
But Teshiera admitted Horner and McMillin may have directives that go against the union, but he said to “be honest with your workforce and the public — something this current body has failed to do.”
Horner and McMillin represent the federal government on the 16-member board and were appointed by the Trump administration. They replace Carol Carmody and David Strickland, who both were appointed in June 2016 and relieved with three and two years remaining on their terms, respectively.
Horner is a partner in the District law firm Hunton and Williams, where he focuses on public-private partnerships and the development of transportation infrastructure throughout the country. McMillin, a partner at U.S. Policy Metrics in D.C., previously worked as the deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget from 2006 to 2009.
Trump has proposed budget cuts in the federal transportation budget and conduct more private-partnerships to fund various projects.
Meanwhile, board chairman and D.C. City Councilman Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) came under fire for a disparaging remark he made earlier this month about Prince George’s County.
In a July 10 story published by WAMU-FM, Evans dismissed talks of a pay-to-play in D.C. politics, saying the city “isn’t Prince George’s County.”
During a press briefing after Thursday’s meeting, Evans apologized for what he called an “ill-advised comment.”
“Hopefully, an apology helps,” Evans said. “That’s all I can do.”
Jampsea Campbell, a Metro bus operator from Landover, blasted Evans’ remark.
“Comments like that are exactly what will stop us from getting the regional cooperation that we need in order to fairly fund Metro and fix many of the system’s problems,” Campbell said. “This type of unprofessional, offensive and juvenile behavior from an elected official who is the leader of this board is completely unacceptable.”
The board will have its August recess and is not scheduled to meet again until September.