LIMA — The Allen County Regional Transit Authority is beginning its search for a new executive director after the former director, Shelia Haney, officially resigned on Feb. 14.
Haney could not be reached for comment.
Until the position is filled, the ACRTA will be led by two current employees working as co-interim directors. Board President Holly Rex said Operations Director Karen Garland and Superintendent Brian Wildermuth have taken to the new roles well.
“The drivers and the administrative staff that are currently working with RTA are doing an excellent job,” Rex said. “They’re continuing to do their jobs day-in and day-out.”
Haney played an important role in the ACRTA’s successful levy that raised the county tax rate by 0.1% after the organization recognized that its budget would have led the organization into a downward spiral that Haney said would have resulted in the transit authority’s eventual disbandment. Due to the injection of funds provided by the levy, the ACRTA is now on track to re-establish cut routes, as well as add back weekend and night services.
Immediately after winning the levy, the board began to deliberate on Haney’s compensation for a number of months in executive session. Rex said Haney did not give a reason for her resignation.
As for the search for the new director, Rex said the board will be working through the process to identify the organization’s needs in an executive director, and the search could extend to the national level depending on the qualifications of candidates that apply for the position.
“We’ll have to replace her. We’re going to take our time and go through the process to make sure we can identify all the things that we can expect out of an executive director,” Rex said.
Until then, the ACRTA will be concentrating on replacing cut routes with the funds gained from the levy’s success. Rex estimated that service levels prior to the cuts made in 2018 will be fully re-established by the third or fourth quarter.
Another challenge for the new director, or interim directors, will be trying to recruit more bus drivers. With the job market in good health, Rex said it’s been difficult to bring on new qualified employees, and the board is weighing their options to figure out how to proceed on that front.
The board is also working to figure out how to proceed during the COVID-19 outbreak. Depending on ridership levels, the transit authority may decide to shut down for a time if there are local exposures and confirmed cases, Rex said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.