Earlier today, I wrote about the low attendance among MTA board members at the fare hike hearings. The problem, it seems, is worse than I thought.
According to a report in The Daily News, three MTA board members – Andrew Saul, Donald Cecil and Susan Metzger (showed above in that order) – skipped every single fare hike hearing. Nancy Shevell showed to only one hearing after her tryst with Paul McCartney became public knowledge.
“Membership on the MTA board is a privilege, not a right, with awesome responsibilities,” State Assemblyman Rory Lancman (D-Queens) said to reporter Pete Donohue. “Members who can’t drag themselves to even one fare hike hearing to face the riding public not only shouldn’t be allowed to vote for a fare hike, they shouldn’t be on the board at all.”
This story is part of The Daily News’ ongoing Halt the Hike, a blending of editorial content and news reporting. While one could question the journalistic ethics behind such a blurring of the traditional lines of objectivity in news reporting, The Daily News is spot on in this case, and their companion editorial nails the issue:
Why should they care about the cost of transportation? MTA board members get lifetime free MetroCards, lifetime free Metro-North and LIRR train passes and lifetime free E-ZPass accounts. For themselves and for their spouses or paramours.
Let the cry go up from the streets: Revoke their privileges! And kick them off the board!
Since they obviously have no interest in the riders and no interest in the scores of lawmakers who are urging the MTA to delay the fare hike, these three do not belong on the panel. Board Chairman Dale Hemmerdinger should ask for their resignations and for replacement members before any vote on the hikes.
If the MTA board members aren’t going to at least pretend that they’re listening to the public, they have no business serving on the board. And that’s all there is to say.