METRO Restructures to Stay Focused on Mission; Non-Critical Support Functions Cut Back

August 31, 2005

Today METRO announced a restructuring to make basic improvements in the way it does business and shape the organization to stay focused on its mission.

Employees were told that a variety of functions and activities whose value to the authority had diminished over time or become unnecessary would be discontinued. A total of 134 full and part-time positions were identified as non-mission critical.

In addition, METRO undertook a three-month review of the way its business was conducted and whether there were smarter, more effective strategies, steps and structures for doing the essential work. From this exercise, a total of 32 new positions were created.

Every effort was made to place employees whose position had been eliminated into one of the 32 new slots or one of the existing vacancies where matches could be found between job requirements and employee qualifications. Matches were found in a number of instances. However, there were 84 employees whose qualifications did not match any of the vacancies and they were released.

All affected employees are being offered a separation package and those who are eligible for early retirement will be able to take advantage of that benefit as well. Career counseling services also are being made available.

METRO President and CEO Frank Wilson told employees that the authority needed to stop doing things with minimal return. "Thanks to a lot of hard work by employees in this and recent years, METRO is in solid financial shape," he said. "To stay financially healthy and build service for customers, we had to examine our business to get better focused on what matters most."

Wilson said METRO is evolving, as most businesses do, by moving into light rail service last year and commuter rail in the not-to-distant future. As Phase 2 of METRO Solutions is implemented, a new design and construction approach will be used requiring fewer in-house personnel. And new technologies and business strategies are being implemented.

For example, 11 positions were eliminated because METRO has a new electronic means of gathering ridership data and no longer needs employees doing manual counting at bus stops. In addition, in METRO Police we are moving to a strategy of crime-focused policing which targets high priority areas. We have invited a number of part-time officers to fill full time positions and they would be deployed using this new enforcement model. A facet of this new model is to utilize intelligent surveillance cameras in priority areas so that officers and resources can be targeted more effectively.

Wilson acknowledged that the restructuring was a difficult step and he expressed appreciation for the contributions made by those affected. "The pain is real," Wilson said, "and through it METRO will emerge a stronger, more viable organization for the long term."