Approve Sen. Glazer’s Measure to Create Inspector General for Bay Area Transit System
SACRAMENTO – Bay Area voters on Election Day approved the creation of an independent inspector general for BART to hold the sprawling transit district accountable for its spending, service to riders, and timely delivery of capital projects.
The inspector general was proposed by state Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) as part of Regional Measure 3, which would maintain and expand transportation infrastructure across the Bay Area from revenues generated by a new toll.
With 4,695 of 4,816 precincts reporting, Regional Measure 3 captured 53.8 percent of the vote in all nine Bay Area Counties.
Glazer, a longtime critic of BART, insisted that voters be given the option of creating the accountability czar as a condition of his support for placing the measure on the ballot. Other major transit agencies, including those in Washington D.C., New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, have long had inspector generals to serve as an independent check on the bureaucracy.
“BART will reap about a billion dollars from toll revenues that voters approved, so it’s critical that riders and residents have someone who will keep a close eye on the administration’s performance, efficiency and management of projects,” Glazer said.
The inspector general will be appointed by the governor from a list of three finalists nominated by the BART board. The person could be fired only with a two-thirds vote of the board and the governor’s agreement, or a majority vote if the person violated the law or ethics rules.
The BART inspector general would be tasked with investigating fraud, waste and inefficiencies, conducting audits, and recommending changes in the agency’s practices that will improve services to riders.
Glazer, who has been at odds with BART’s unions in the past, also insisted on adding a line to the inspector general’s mission requiring the office to assess whether management was using best practices to promote “positive and productive” relations with employees and their representatives.
“The vast majority of BART employees are hard-working, dedicated public servants who share their customers’ desire to have trains that run on time, stations that are safe and clean, and escalators and elevators that work when they are supposed to,” Glazer said. “I hope the employees and their unions will find an inspector general to be an effective ally in making those things a reality.”
Glazer also pushed for amendments to the bill that ensured Contra Costa and Alameda county commuters would see a fair share of congestion relief projects if the toll increases become a reality.
Projects to improve traffic flow on Interstate 680 and rebuild interchanges where 680 connects to state routes 4 and 84 were included in the final version of the proposed spending plan.
“The new inspector general will provide independent oversight of the district’s practices, as our region moves forward with projects designed to relieve congestion throughout the entire region,” Glazer said.
“I’d like to thank Sen. Jim Beall, who authored the measure that became RM3, and Sen. Scott Wiener, Assemblyman Philip Ting and Assemblyman David Chiu, who worked closely with me to craft the inspector general provision and supported its inclusion in the bill.”