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KCATA board members hold special meeting to discuss CEO

KCATA board meeting June 2022
Posted at 10:40 PM, Jun 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-30 23:40:37-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There's some tension at the largest transit agency in the Kansas City area as the CEO's future may be in the balance.

The KCATA board convened in a special meeting Thursday afternoon.

Behind closed doors, members of the KCATA board spent two hours talking about the agency’s CEO, Robbie Makinen.

"Because this is a personnel matter, we will have no further comment," Melissa Bynum, chair of the KCATA board said. "Pending further action of this board."

This special meeting comes as the agency faces scrutiny.

"The city is upset about our service. We can't get bus operators in here with short staff," Will Howard, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1287 said. "I mean, who's gonna be happy with that when we have 50 routes, and we're only putting out about 30."

The union representing those drivers isn't happy with the current leadership.

"We don't hire, fire, anybody. But what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong," Howard said. "And when it came time for us to negotiate our contract, we ended up on the short end of the deal."

"Kansas city government and taxpayers have continued to pay the money that we should each year to KCATA, they have seen more money coming in from outside sources," KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas said. "We want to make sure that while we're seeing more money, we're not seeing worse delivery. I think that has been an issue right now for the city and KCATA. Hopefully that can be resolved long term, whether that's with Mr. Makinen and whether that's with others, I don't know what the future holds."

Makinen told KSHB 41 over the phone he was aware of Thursday's meeting but hadn't been informed of the outcome.

"The board is working through all these issues related to making sure that services that are provided to the city of Kansas City are impeccable, and that they are meeting the expectations of its riders," Michael Shaw, KCATA board member & KCMO Public Works Director said.