“We are a more focused organization today”
TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane today reported to the Board of Directors on the implementation of the 23 recommendations in the 2014 Secretary of State’s audit. The comprehensive audit completed a year ago, focused on the agency’s finances, transparency and operations.
“We are a more focused organization today because of the outside perspective that the audit provided and we not only implemented the recommendations, we also ensured that the improvements are sustainable going forward,” said McFarlane.
Secretary of State Auditor Will Garber commented that “we’re encouraged to see the progress that TriMet has made on all of the recommendations.”
The audit concurred with TriMet’s assessment that the most significant financial challenges facing the agency were the cost of healthcare benefits and the unfunded liability to pay for current and future retirees. The new union contract put the agency on a path of reducing these benefits, and the Strategic Financial Plan approved in July sets a course for funding these benefits.
Several actions were implemented related to improving frontline employee engagement and communication in the areas of safety, route design, schedules, new bus design, training, and annual formal evaluation. TriMet also improved its Request for Safety Assessment process making it easier to report and track concerns.
The labor contract ratified last October completed the implementation of several recommendations. This included formalizing the bus operator Hours of Service policy into the contract and the ability to hire technical trade positions from outside the agency.
While the audit noted TriMet’s Accountability webpage offered a high level of transparency, TriMet created the Transparency and Accountability Center on its website and regularly reviews agency contact. An independent hotline was created for employees to report waste, fraud and abuse of district resources.
The agency has moved forward with making improvements to our maturing infrastructure and a heightened focus on rail reliability.
“I’m so proud of our employees throughout the agency who embraced the audit recommendations and through their efforts, demonstrated their commitment to further our focus on continuous improvement. These efforts will also benefit our riders and the entire community,” said McFarlane.