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4:00 - SPECIAL MEETING
ORDER OF BUSINESS
1. Call to Order
Chairman Vaughns called the meeting to order at 4:12 p.m.
2. Roll Call
Absent: James McCray, Jr.
3. Announcement of prohibition of sound producing devices during the meeting.
Chairman Vaughns announced that the ringing of and use of cell phones, pagers and similar sound-producing electronic devices are prohibited at the meeting. She advised that any person responsible for the ringing or use of a cell phone, pager, or other similar sound-producing electronic devices may be removed from the meeting.
4. Director's Report (for discussion only)
The secretary announced that the Interim Tow Contract Agreement had been removed from the agenda at the request of staff.
The secretary also announced that Room 421 has been set up as an overflow room for the meeting. People who were in the overflow room would be given time to get to Room 400 if they want to address the board.
Director Burns stated that the interim tow contract is an emergency agreement that he has been hoping to get approved by the board prior to execution. Under the Administrative Code, the Chairman of the Board and he may sign an emergency contract but must bring it to the full board at the first opportunity thereafter. Directors Casey and Flynn expressed their opposition to waiving the city's minimum wage or health care ordinances. Director Burns noted that the item was pulled from the evening's agenda tonight because of those ordinances.
David Pilpel asked for an opportunity to comment about this item. Chairman Vaughns stated that it was off the agenda.
Director Burns introduced Commander Sylvia Harper as the new head of DPT's Enforcement Division. Commander Harper has been with the San Francisco Police Department since 1976 and has received the Bronze Medal of Honor as well as numerous other commendations. She assumed responsibility for the Enforcement Division on February 23rd . Chairman Vaughns commended Commander Harper and offered the congratulations and support of the board. Commander Harper is honored to represent the department, noting that her father worked for Muni. She will use her close ties to the Police Department to bring the MTA and the SFPD closer together.
Director Burns reported that the J-line track work didn't occur as previously announced due to rain. The work will occur, weather permitting, over the next two weekends. Muni will provide substitute buses.
Over the weekend, Secretary Mineta toured the Third St. Project along with Mayor Newsom, Directors Din, Flynn and Kasolas and the FTA Regional Administrator, Leslie Rogers. The Secretary was pleased with the project.
5. Citizen's Advisory Council Report
CAC Chairman Dan Murphy council reviewed a number of budget recommendations made by the CAC at a recent meeting. The board has received a copy of these recommendations. He also urged approval of the paratransit fare proposal that had been previously endorsed by the CAC. Mr. Murphy also expressed appreciation on behalf of the CAC to the budget staff for their generosity with their time and for accommodating the CAC's meeting schedule. He also thanked the CAC's secretary, Vincent Dunlap. (Chairman Vaughns thanked Mr. Murphy for the recommendations. The comments will be provided to Mr. Burns for an appropriate response.)
6. Public Comment
David Pilpel has serious concerns about a difficult interaction he had with the board secretary and about being provided with public information in an appropriate manner. He would like the board to discuss the matter. (Director Flynn stated that it wouldn't be proper to discuss a personnel matter in this manner. Chairman Vaughns replied that she would speak to Mr. Pilpel after the board meeting.)
John Coll would like to discuss changes in services. He is concerned that the 7-Haight and the 4-Sutter are electric lines and will be replaced with diesel lines. As a life long asthma sufferer, he urged Muni to go electric pursuant to the 1970 controversy over removing electric bus lines on Market St.
Ernestine Weiss stated that operators don't want the right turn from Stockton onto Clay as it causes problems. There needs to be a timed light at Clay and Van Ness. Parking should be removed on Sacramento and Clay as people who live there have garages. She noted that parking should also be removed in the vicinity of Powell and Kearny.
Marianne Graycloud is a senior citizen with a heart disorder and arthritis. She is concerned that the proposed service cuts will mean that she will have to stand in the bus because the front seats won't be available for her to sit in. This means she will fall and injure herself.
Norm Rolfe is bothered by proposed changes as it is a reduction in the electric operation. Prop I will probably pass so Muni needs to look at implementing more electric lines rather than cutting them. It's time to revive the proposal to electrify the 71-Haight/Noriega.
THE FOLLOWING MATTERS BEFORE THE MUNICIPAL TRANSPORTATION AGENGY BOARD OF DIRECTORS ARE RECOMMENDED FOR ACTION AS STATED, BY THE DIRECTOR OF TRANSPORTATION, AND CITY ATTORNEY WHERE APPLICABLE.
7. Public Hearing to consider the MTA's proposal to consider paratransit fare changes for the Municipal Railway.
8. Approving the Municipal Railway Department's FY2005 Operating Budget in the amount of $475,945,655; approving the Department of Parking and Traffic's FY2005 Operating and Capital Budget in the amount of $72,627,498; certifying that the FY2005 budgets are adequate to make substantial progress towards meeting the goals, objectives, and performance standards; approving labor savings including the possibility of reductions in the workforce; finding that the changes to paratransit fares are exempt from CEQA review; approving a new Muni paratransit passenger fare schedule to take effect on September 1, 2004; authorizing the director to discontinue service on the 3 or 4 line and the 7 line after completion of public hearings, environmental review and Board of Supervisors review; finding that proposed service discontinuations are subject to environmental review; approving the fare change request to waive fares on New Year's Eve 2004, authorizing the continuance of the Class Pass program; and authorizing the implementation of short-term experimental fares; authorizing the Director to execute an agreement with BART for use of the Fast Pass on BART in San Francisco; authorizing the Director to execute an agreement with BART for Muni to accept payment from BART for providing connecting bus service to BART stations; . (Explanatory documents include a staff report, resolution and attachments.) (Explanatory documents include a staff report and resolution.)
Items 7 and 8 were called together.
Michael T. Burns, Director of Transportation reviewed the MTA budget. DPT's budget is currently in balance. Both Muni and DPT's budgets include the assumption that employees will continue to contribute 7.5% toward their retirement programs, consistent with the city's current budget plans. The proposed service adjustments will be subject to a full public process and is subject to approval by the Board of Supervisors. This is a difficult time for Muni as well as other city departments and is extremely difficult for transit throughout the Bay Area. BART is looking at a deficit of over $40 million and other transit agencies are looking at a 20-30% adjustment in service.
Alicia Fletcher, Muni Budget Manager, reviewed key assumptions in the budget including:
A 17% increase in health care costs
The Employer retirement contribution rate will be 4.5% as approved by the Retirement Board.
Employees will continue to contribute 7.5% to their retirement
No wage increases.
This will be the last year of the economic downturn.
Ms. Fletcher added that there will be approximately 125 employees that will be laid off. Muni will be prioritizing external customer service and will focus the layoffs on professional, administrative and clerical staff. Staff has committed to working with the CAC for determining priorities for deferral of capital projects.
Peter Straus, Manager, Service Planning reviewed the proposal to adjust service. Ridership has declined 7.5% and the proposed cuts are less than 3% of Muni's total service. The Board is not being asked to make a final decision tonight. The proposal will return to the MTA board following public input.
Vice Chairman Kasolas asked staff to provide a regular report to the board on ridership changes and service adjustments.
Director Casey asked about the public process for the service adjustments. He anticipates that there will be a negative response and wondered if Muni had a fallback recommendation. Director Burns discussed the plan to seek input from the public. The criterion that Muni used for the proposed adjustments was ridership. The board or the feedback that Muni gets from the public might direct them to consider other factors.
Director Flynn asked staff to let the board know how many people come to the public meetings to hear about the service adjustments.
Director Casey asked for clarification about the assumption that there will be no wage increases. He asked staff to provide a recent history of TWU operator wages. He also asked about the $2.5 million in savings that are to be achieved through negotiations. He understands the sensitivity of the situation but added that the board is being asked to pass a budget that includes labor savings without any explanation of what those savings entail. Director Burns stated that staff has an internal strategy but it's not appropriate to share it publicly as negotiations haven't yet started.
Chairman Vaughns noted that all unions had been informed about the budget hearing and were invited to attend two meetings that were held on January 30 th and February 12 th .
Bruce Oka, PCC member and CAC member, urged the MTA Board to pass the paratransit fare adjustments as recommended by the PCC. This proposal is the result of over eight years of hard work. Nobody wants to see increases, particularly for those who need low fares, however there needs to be fare equity. It hurts to raise fares and there will be an impact but there is also a safety net in place. This is a fair proposal.
William Sisk, TWU 250A, commented that while staff considers the plan to be service adjustments, TWU calls them cuts. There will be a public outcry over this plan as the riders have already started a petition. Prop. E called for reliable and safe service. If you cut the 5-Fulton owl service, nurses won't be able to go to work in the middle of the night. A majority of the targeted lines operate in minority neighborhoods. This plan burdens the public.
Rafael Cabrera stated that you can't balance the budget on the back of labor. The community should be told what's going on before any decision is made. People deserve quality service. He is willing to work in good faith. Service is already missing and now staff is proposing more cuts on top of what's already missing.
David Pilpel thinks that this process has not been good, as some information has only been revealed at the last minute. There has been no notice on the vehicles and the staff analysis is sketchy. There are no alternatives to the proposals. He doesn't understand how the board can certify that Muni will make progress on the service standards if the board hasn't seen the FY05 service standards. Muni is putting the budget on a credit card, which is a bad practice. The BART resolution should be a separate action and the environmental review process isn't complete.
Glenda Lavigne, Local 200 stated that last year staff assumed we'd pay 7.5%. Labor went to its' members and said it was important. Then management started to hire people and to give bonuses and raises. This budget is being balanced on labor. What happened to the suggestions she made last year? We're in the exact same place doing the exact same thing.
Sarita Britt noted that Training is already short staffed and shouldn't be cut. The Woods division is short 25 to 30 runs a day. Employees are not going to give back the 7.5% this year.
Peter Ehrlich, an F-line Operator thinks that by eliminating the 7 and 4 lines, Muni will be in violation of the judges order for the Bayview Associates. He added that the F-line along the Embarcadero is well patronized on the weekdays and is at "crush load" during the summer. Muni is already having problems at Green, Flynn, and Potrero due to missing equipment.
Pat Jackson, Business Rep, SEIU-790, stated that there is no agreement by 790 to give back the 7.5% retirement contribution. This budget is being balanced on the back of labor. It's not fair to ask people at the bottom of the pile to give back when management positions are still being filled.
Lawanna Preston, Staff Director, SEIU Local 790, stated that her members will not agree to give back the 7.5% for a second year, especially when people are hired who make over $100,000. She represents janitors, and people who don't make $35,000 who are getting nothing. This is dehumanizing, rude, and disrespectful. The law requires Muni to meet and confer in good faith. She requests that Muni meet with labor in good faith and not assume that there will be raises and benefits and that the lowest paid workers will give back. Don't take any action that will harm women, people of color and children.
Victor Grayson is an operator at Presidio Division where most of the proposed cuts will occur. Muni is supposed to be a happy family and be about trust. Last year, operators took two furlough days and gave up a general sign up. The big raise that happened right afterwards looked bad. As an option, staff should ask the downtown corridor to pay more, as they benefit the most.
Teri Lowe, Presidio Operator, started as an operator two years ago and is still not at full pay. She's a single parent who has been asked to give things up. She wants to provide safe service. She asks for a plan so she can buy a home for her family.
Jeremy Nelson, Transportation for a Liveable City, stated that he is glad to see that no fare increase has been proposed. A three percent cut in service isn't severe in the overall scheme but it's dramatic on the individual lines. He is opposed to the service cuts and has a list of 17 possible funding or revenue sources. The list includes increasing the commercial tax on parking, increasing public parking fees, eliminating free parking, extending hours and days of paid parking spaces, increasing fees and fines, and establishing a local gas tax and local license fee.
David Tornheim is outraged at the proposal to cut service. The 5-Fulton schedule hasn't changed at all in the ten years he has lived here. Service needs to be increased. Taxes need to be raised and cars parked on sidewalks should be ticketed. People count on the 5-Owl to get to work. He added that there was no outreach to the public about these cuts.
Janeen Castner represents Muni clerks and wants the board to listen to the operators as they speak with validity and with personal experience. Please recognize that the obligation to meet and confer is important. She is thankful for her seniority as a clerk but if Muni loses clerks, they will lose important infrastructure.
Lesley Bonnet rides the 2 or the 4 line to work and often watches a full bus pass her by. Please don't trust the numbers. If Muni's goal is to make every line as unpleasant as 38, Muni will lose ridership.
Robert Myers, Director, CYC Connections, thinks that service cuts aren't appropriate at this point as the buses are already crowded and people with disabilities can't get seats. These cuts will affect the indigent and homeless and people will lose jobs because the buses are late. If Muni hadn't misappropriated funds, this wouldn't be a problem. It's not fair to but the additional burden on labor. The pay of managers, directors and senior staff should be cut.
Griff Humphrey, PCC committee member, supports the paratransit equity proposal submitted to board. The increase in the lift van fare will increase his cost. People should pay approximately the same amount. The current fare structure is discriminatory.
Jean Ellis-Jones has been an operator for 24 years. The 14-Mission runs through the heart of the Mission. The other adjustments are a joke. Nobody has assessed the corridors, nobody has looked at how the community has upgraded and nobody has looked at service to the hospitals.
Ron Mitchell, JLMB, suggested that Muni must deal with scheduling in the right manner. He referred to a report that was written 54 years ago that said that runs weren't scheduled correctly back then. The same thing is still happening. Cutting lines isn't going to get people where they need to go. Transit should be promoted, not taken away.
Bill Sisk, TWU 250A stated that operators and hospital workers are taking the hits. Mayor Newsom said that people who make over $100,000 should step up to the plate. He sees nobody in the room stepping up to the plate.
Darryl Davin is a Muni operator who stated that these changes aren't positive for everyone. There are people resting on their laurels while operators have to pass people by who are just trying to get to work. These cuts will affect the public and operators.
Chairman Vaughns closed public comment on items 7 and 8.
Director Casey proposed an amendment to the resolution that would require staff to return to the board for approval if there was a net change in the budget of one percent in revenues or expenditures rather than five percent. Director Burns noted that despite having authorization last year to approve up to a five percent change, he brought the budget back to the board for all changes. Director Burns is comfortable with the amendment as it's his intention to have an open process and to bring everything back to the board.
On the motion to amend the budget to require board approval if there is a net change of one percent in revenues or expenditures:
ADOPTED: AYES - Black, Casey, Din, Flynn, Kasolas, and Vaughns
ABSENT - McCray
Director Casey proposed a second amendment that would reinstate the 7.5% in employees' wages that were previously assumed to be applied to their retirement plan and that the Director of Transportation shall identify and incorporate savings of an equal amount from other areas of the budget which shall not result in layoffs or wage and benefit reductions of employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
Director Casey clarified his intent by adding that this amendment doesn't assume that employees will agree to give back the 7.5% retirement contribution as that item is yet to be negotiated. The Director of Transportation would have to find another $12.5 million in the budget that doesn't result in layoffs or staff reductions. The total budget amount will not change.
Director Burns commented that if there was another $12.5 million available in the budget that could be applied to the current 125 layoffs or service cuts, staff would have included that. Staff hasn't been able to identify other expense reductions or revenue increases beyond what's been proposed. If the amendment is approved, staff would have to take an additional $12.5 million out of the service. These service cuts would be 2.5 times as large as the plan presented this evening, which would impact Muni's customers substantially. Director Burns is not in position to recommend that course of action and the only other alternative is a fare increase.
Director Casey stated that out of a $31.5 million deficit, $19.5 million is against labor. This is a disproportionate burden that is being placed on the men and women that drive this system. We shouldn't assume that the $12.5 million would mean service cuts as staff may find other avenues over the next few months. He has to believe that additional avenues can be found or this will come back to haunt us as it will make negotiations much more difficult. It will send the absolute wrong message to employees at a time when managers have had their wages increased. We need to think about the message.
Director Din is not comfortable with the proposed amendment as we already have six million on a credit card for next year and he doesn't want to increase that burden.
On the motion to amend the budget to reinstate the 7.5% employee contribution and find an additional $12.5 million in cuts that would not result in layoffs or a reduction in wages or benefits:
AYES - Black and Casey
NAYES - Din, Flynn, Kasolas, and Vaughns
ABSENT - McCray
The motion failed adoption.
On the motion to approve the budget as amended:
On motion to approve:
ADOPTED: AYES - Din, Flynn, Kasolas, and Vaughns
NAYES - Black and Casey
ABSENT - McCray
9. Authorizing the Director to execute an emergency interim service agreement and property use license for towing, storage and disposal of abandoned and illegally parked vehicles with TEGSCO/San Francisco Auto Return, on substantially the same terms applicable under the current contract for a term commencing in March 2004, for the purpose of maintaining continuity of service and protecting the public welfare while the City negotiates a long-term contract for these services. (Explanatory documents include a staff report, contract and resolution.)
This item was removed from the agenda at the request of staff.
David Pilpel asked for an opportunity to comment. Julia Friedlander, Deputy City Attorney advised the board that since no action was taken, they did not have to take public comment on the item. She added that the board secretary had announced that the item had been removed at the start of the meeting and that Mr. Pilpel did have an opportunity to address the board about this matter under Public Comment but did not avail himself of the opportunity.
ADJOURN - The meeting was adjourned at 7:24 p.m.
A tape of the meeting is on file in the office of the Secretary to the Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors.
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