Can A Metro Board Member Be Impeached?

One thing to keep in mind about the non-stop clusterfuck known as the DC Metro transportation system is that this decay, by definition, didn’t happen overnight: it was years in the making (and this affects people outside the D.C. metro area). Nor is this largely the fault of ‘union workers’–the flaws with the system are so vast and systemic that they must and should be laid at the feet of the management. Consider this board member and corrupt asshole (boldface mine):

The District’s inspector general has filed an ethics complaint against the chairman of Metro’s governing board, alleging that he violated conflict-of-interest rules in serving as a paid adviser to a company that has done tens of millions of dollars in contract work for the transit agency, according to a member of the board’s ethics committee.

Mortimer L. Downey, who joined the Metro board as a representative of the federal government in 2010 and became chairman this year, has made no secret of his lucrative ties to the engineering company Parsons Brinckerhoff, which has been paid $81 million in recent years to manage Metro’s capital improvements program.

The company, which also had a major role in designing and building the troubled Silver Spring Transit Center, has been sued by Metro and Montgomery County over alleged problems with the three-story transit hub. The center opened last week after five years of delays and $50 million in cost overruns.

Although Downey has said that his approximately $100,000-a-year job as a part-time “senior adviser” to Parsons Brinckerhoff was approved by Metro’s general counsel — and that he ended his 10-year relationship with the company three months ago — the Metro board’s ethics committee has received a conflict-of-interest complaint from the D.C. Office of the Inspector General, according to committee member Michael Goldman.

Like Vegas, what happens in Metro stays in Metro–usually:

Unlike the board’s other committees — which deal with Metro’s safety, finances, governance and other issues — the ethics committee does not meet regularly. Its members convene only when issues such as the one involving Downey are formally brought to its attention. As a rule, the committee’s agendas and proceedings are confidential.

Last week, however, before the committee met behind closed doors Friday to discuss the Downey matter, its agenda popped up on Metro’s Web site. Then, a short time later, it vanished from the site, suggesting that it had been made public by mistake.

The agenda said only that the committee would be discussing a “complaint” from the D.C. inspector general’s office regarding Downey. After a reporter who saw the posting asked Goldman about it, Goldman confirmed that it involved Parsons Brinckerhoff and an alleged conflict of interest.

Get rid of him, then start digging around these other incompetents.

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1 Response to Can A Metro Board Member Be Impeached?

  1. mrtoads says:

    SOP – What’s good for Mort Downey is good for America. Or Metro, in this case. That makes it possible to use Tom Lehrer’s line about “doing well by doing good”. I’d be willing to bet that Mr. Downey is angered and appalled at this unfair characterization of him as a corrupt weasel in a human suit, too. After all, everybody’s doing it, right? If it wasn’t him, it would be somebody else.

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