The Capital Area Transit System has a lot of work to do before it unveils an improved bus system to taxpayers in 2014 — and most of that work is going to be done without a permanent leader in place.
CATS Board President Isaiah Marshall and board Vice President Dalton Honoré II said during an interview Friday that they are looking for a “dynamic” and “inspiring” interim chief executive officer to lead the agency through a transition period for the next six to nine months.
CATS CEO Brian Marshall, no relation to Isaiah Marshall, resigned two weeks ago under pressure from critics who said the agency was moving too slowly toward completing service improvements promised in the April 2012 tax election.
Now, as CATS moves forward with what promises to be the most transformative year in its history, the agency’s board will add the task of finding a new leader to its list of priorities.
“We want a dynamic person who can focus on change and leadership and bring out the best of our staff,” said Honoré, who is handling administrative tasks until an interim CEO can be selected.
“We need someone who can implement strategy, who can inspire and empower the team to achieve,” Isaiah Marshall said. “And who has experience running a multimillion-dollar business, because that is what this is.”
A national search will be held concurrently to find a permanent CEO.
CATS is accepting résumés for the interim CEO position until May 10. A committee of the board will conduct interviews May 14-16. The full CATS board will select the interim CEO on May 17.
So far, Marshall said, three applications have been filed. He said the application period could be extended if CATS does not feel the pool has quality candidates.
The interim CEO also could be considered for the permanent position, he said.
Marshall said he doesn’t think CATS will have a problem finding a qualified leader to serve in the interim CEO position, adding that the candidate may be a retiree or a business owner with the freedom to take the job.
He said some board members, other bus system advocates and supporters are talking informally to people they hope will apply.
While Marshall and Honoré wouldn’t directly link it to Brian Marshall’s resignation, both said riders, employees and other stakeholders have recommitted their support to the agency in the past week.
“There has been a renewed level of energy and commitment lately,” Isaiah Marshall said. “People are seeing the board is now united and it helps others to have more of a buy in.”
Honoré said he’s put the agency back on track to meeting its goals in the week since he’s been given administrative authority over the agency.
He said Brian Marshall became distracted with the public pressure on him and lost focus.
“Me, I’m not looking at the distractions,” Honoré said. “I’m going back to the core focus of getting this plan in place in a timely fashion. I’m closing the gap where (Brian Marshall) may have slipped.”
Honore’ said CATS won’t miss a beat in its schedule to add service during the transition period.
The agency expects to sign a program management firm to oversee the transition this year by July 15. CATS is also moving forward with adding covered bus shelters and is encouraging the public to take a survey at http://www.brcats.com about what style of bus shelters they prefer.