Councilwoman Marcelle wants CATS chief executive officer to resign _lowres

Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle; CATS CEO Bob Mirabito

Denise MarcelleBaton Rouge Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle is calling on the parish bus board to reject an almost 20 percent pay increase for the agency’s chief executive officer Bob Mirabito. The raise, if approved, would make Mirabito one of the highest paid public officialsin the parish — out earning the mayor-president, the chief of police and various other public agency leaders.

The Capital Area Transit System Board is expected to approve a contract extension and pay increase for Mirabito at their monthly meeting today. Mirabito is posed to earn a base salary of $175,000 a year. He currently earns $147,000.

In a letter to her colleagues on the council, Marcelle says Mirabito has not effectively moved the system forward as promised to tax payers in the 2012 election.

“The expectation of CATS and its board was that CATS would be good stewards of public funds. The citizens of Baton Rouge did not invest in increasing the pay of CATS administration. Supporters and dissenters of the tax should be outraged that this issue is even coming before the board. I’m appalled at the board’s decision to put a person before the people. The dollars should be spent on the ground to improve services that are constantly being reported as insufficient and not to increase administration pay,” she said.

Marcelle notes that since the tax was passed and Mirabito was put in place, the administrative budget has increased from $1.2 million in 2012 to to $2.6 million in 2015. The budget increased from $13 million to $27 million during this time.

She said 18 of 31 routes still have wait times of an hour. CATS leaders promised the public that the agency would have average wait times of 15-20 minutes for routes during peak hours, among other promises.

Marcelle also took issue with comments Mirabito made in an interview last month describing the racial demographics of his staff and ridership.

“The comments were reckless and embarrassing,” she said.

She said the CATS board has not released criteria to validate such a substantial increase in pay, totaling $50,000 in the past two years.