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City approves $91K agreement with Endless Mountains Transportation Authority

City Council on Tuesday, in a special meeting held remotely, approved a $91,000 management agreement between the city and the Endless Mountains Transportation Authority.

The agreement, which runs through June 31, 2021, was adopted by a 6-0 vote with President Randall J. Allison, Adam Yoder, Jon Mackey, Vincent Pulizzi, David Banks, Bonnie Katz approving. Councilwoman Liz Miele was absent.

The original request was considered last week, resulting in a 3-3 vote and the need for further discussion, Allison said.

“We thought it was prudent to bring it before council,” Mayor Derek Slaughter said.

Endless Mountains Transportation Authority, a five-member management team, is not new, having formed in 2011. The mayor noted it was an agreement that hadn’t come before council in several years.

“It should come before council,” Slaughter said, adding council should know these contracts, some of which have not been brought to council in recent years.

Slaughter said council should know what is transpiring and be “brought up to speed.”

Jill Nagy, city transportation attorney, said the new agreement differentiates the hours spent working and type of work done by the authority members from their work for River Valley Transit.

Nagy also agreed the contract needed to be cleaned up so these River Valley Transit employees are paid a stipend and it doesn’t interfere with salaries toward their pensions.

Additionally, she said, a study will be done to lay out the managers’ responsibilities and payments to assist council and the administration during next year’s budget deliberations.

Yoder asked for and received a vote on an amendment to the agreement, which included delivery of a quarterly report to council regarding the management done by River Valley Transit employees on behalf of Endless Mountains Transportation Authority.

Yoder was one of three councilmen who initially voted against the agreement last week in order to hear more details.

He continues to have concerns with the inexperience of some members of the management team who are just starting to learn these jobs.

Moreover, some of these workers purportedly were putting in 60 hours a week and are “stretched too thin,” he added.

“I think we want to make sure, at least I do, that less experienced individuals in this contract are learning fast and making sure things are done correctly and on time,” Yoder said.

River Valley Transit employees have recently completed a questionnaire describing their daily duties and are being assigned formal job descriptions.

Councilwoman Bonnie Katz echoed Yoder. “I think we all had questions only because of all the new people that are involved with RVT at this point and the lack of experience,” she said.

On a related note, Slaughter said he will begin the search for a permanent general manager for River Valley Transit this week. Adam Winder, general manager of city streets and parks department, has been serving as the interim general manager for the bus and tourist service at 1500 W. Third St.

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