CATS still under fire by community: President unexpectedly resigns
POSTED: Friday, July 26, 2013 - 6:30pm
UPDATED: Saturday, July 27, 2013 - 4:09pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — There is more drama surrounding our Capital Area Transit System. The former CATS board president, Isaiah Marshall, unexpectedly stepped down, something many did not expect.
"Isaiah's a man of integrity, so I think he decided to sacrifice himself he said if it's all about me, let me remove myself from this issue so we can get back to things that are really important," said Councilwoman Tara Wicker.
There's a pair of investigations on some financial problems at CATS. That includes the $100,000 in bus fares that's missing. Also, a former board member is accused of stealing hundreds to pay his bills.
Riders told me they are paying not only bus fare but a hefty tax, too, and this whole situation is unacceptable.
"It's sad, it’s a sad situation," said CATS rider, Bill Droze.
Droze rides the Capital Area Transit System, so when he heard about the recent financial problems and now the resignation of the board's president, he said this is a huge disappointment.
"They need to clean house" he said.
Even Charles Chiner, who has never stepped foot on a CATS bus.
“I’m kind of mad at them right now,” noted Chiner.
But Chiner says even though he doesn't ride, he still plays a part in keeping the system alive.
"Any tax that you don't have any improvement I don't want to pay it," said Chiner.
"You put faith in the company and the company doesn't have respect for the riders and that's not fair,” said Droze. “It's not a joke because it's your tax dollars and your money that your paying for transportation and it's so adequate."
Although recent media attention is putting CATS in the spotlight, Councilwomen like Tara Wicker say this is something that was bound to surface.
“I think that the system just didn't get into trouble it's been in trouble for awhile so now. I think this thing lets take a pause and look at the big picture," said Wicker.
Chiner says whether you ride a bus or not, the missing funds affect the whole community.
“Anytime you’re paying a tax you want to know where your money goes,” said Chiner.
“I want to know as a citizen was it a software issue or was it actually someone taking the money it has to be investigated and it has to be answered," noted Wicker.
CATS CEO Bob Mirabito released this statement on Friday. He said:
“As CEO, I would like to thank Mr. Marshall for his service to CATS. It is my hope that now that this has passed, we can move the conversation back to discussing our plan to deliver a more efficient and accountable transit system. My team and I are focused on gaining the trust of the public. I realize this will take time. I am committed to transparency. To this end, next week I will be meeting with local community groups to discuss our plan for the Program Manager search. We will be announcing our process and will be soliciting their feedback. I truly believe that we can deliver a better product to the people of this city.”