TCA Needs a New Fall Guy

The Transportation Corridor Agencies aren't returning my calls or emails. Which is unfortunate for them, because it prevents them from explaining to me why it's really not a big deal that they've been without a Chief Toll Operations Officer for almost a month now.

Michael Leahy was CTOO, but he retired on April 28. Announced it as early as April 6, too. And yet the TCA had no replacement lined up to fill his shoes. In fact, today's the last day to submit your application to the TCA if you want to be their next CTOO.

Why apply? First off, there's the starting salary - from $117K to $172.5K. Then there's retirement benefits, health, dental, vision, a $400/month car allowance, a 457 deferred compensation program, 36 holiday/leave days a year, and $200,000 in life insurance. Plus a bumper sticker that says, "Ask me about my draconian price increases!"

Still, sounds like the CTOO works for his/her salary and benefits. The job description includes reporting to the CEO (William "Wooly Bully" Woollett Jr.), overseeing 32 employees and 200+ contact employees, the planning/budgeting/installation/procurement/integration/testing/operation of all facilities, all aspects of customer service, the protection of agency revenue (roughly equivalent in difficulty to ensuring peace in the Middle East), ensure contractor "compliance with standard operating procedures", coordinating with local, state and federal agencies regarding toll road policies, procedures, and regulations.

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That's an awful lot of work. Especially considering the TCA's total and utter failure to appease local, state and federal agencies with their Foothill-South extension's Environmental Impact Report (more questionable than cut-rate sushi). So I'm wondering - who's been overseeing those 232 employees over the past month? What about interfacing with the contractors, and with all those agencies? One executive I spoke with tells me any top officer in a company ought to have a succession plan. A replacement is identified, trained and prepared to replace the executive once he/she leaves the company. Another executive said many companies like to find fresh blood, untainted by old or entrenched ideas.

It's been 21 days after the toll road agencies' Chief Toll Operations Officer left (and 43 days after they announced his retirement), and they're just going through applications now. Like I said, it's too bad the TCA won't call me back so they could explain how it's really not a big deal. They probably want to avoid paying another six-figure salary for as long as possible to save up for legal bills.

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