Ongoing delays on A-Line sink any bonus for RTD boss
Ongoing delays on the trouble-plagued University of Colorado A-Line to Denver International Airport, among other issues, have cost the head of the Regional Transportation District his bonus for 2016.
The RTD board of directors informed general manager Dave Genova in a letter this month that operational problems on the ALine, which have led to the delay in the opening of the G-Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge and the R-Line light-rail route in Aurora, are at the root of its decision not to grant the performance bonus.
Genova, hired in March to replace Phil Washington, is paid $275,000 a year and receives an automatic annual $10,000 raise. He is also eligible to receive a bonus up to 10 percent of his salary — or $27,500 — according to his contract.
“While we know that you are busy trying to resolve the issues, most of us feel as though we’ve not been kept informed of what is going on, especially regarding the delay in opening the G and R lines,” the letter states. “More frequent communications to
the Board are requested.”
RTD spokesman Scott Reed, who was serving as acting general manager Friday while Genova is out of the country, said Genova agreed with the board’s decision not to pay him the bonus.
Aside from troubles on the A-Line, where crossing gates are not opening and closing properly, the board also stated that it was not satisfied with RTD’s failure to implement SmartCard technology across the system, telling Genova “we remain impatient for a resolution.”
“Too much time and too much money has been spent on this implementation and we look to you to convey strongly our sense of urgency on this issue,” the letter says.
The board did praise Genova for aptly dealing with financing challenges, workforce shortages and the monumental task of making commuter rail a reality in the metro area. It also lauded the general manager for moving the agency toward a financial “pay as you go” model.
“The realization that RTD cannot continue to accrue debt is important and a positive shift in philosophy,” it wrote.
Overall, Genova was scored as having exceeded expectations in six categories of review and “achieved expectations” in two others.
Since its April debut, the A-Line has been beset by problems with the timing of its crossing gates, which has necessitated that RTD station flaggers to manually manage the at-grade crossings until the problem is resolved. That has led to a delay in the opening of the G-Line, which uses the same crossing technology. The G-Line was supposed to have opened this week.
Last month, RTD announced that the RLine in Aurora would also shift from a 2016 opening to a 2017 launch.
The A-Line also suffered several major outages early in its operation because of issues with its electrical propulsion system and its susceptibility to lightning strikes.
On an annual job performance form included with the letter, the General Manager Oversight Committee said RTD is accustomed to “being lauded as the leader and innovator in the transit community.”
“Now we are placed in the uncomfortable position of having major problems and all are anxious to learn how RTD will rise to the challenge, respond to the setback, promoting lessons learned and an industry standard in the process,” the committee said.