Escambia County News Politics

County Denies Veolia

December 8, 2011

Even after the vote, Escambia County Commissioners were conflicted in their decision to send Veolia packing.

“I’m just torn, honestly,” said Commissioner Gene Valentino.

“Well, we’re all torn,” replied Commissioner Wilson Robertson

On a 3-2 split, the Commission voted to go against their staff’s recommendation and pass up Veolia Transportation in favor of pursuing a contract with the next company down their list, First Transit, Inc., to manage the Escambia County Area Transit system.

“It pains me to make this vote today,” said Commissioner Grover Robinson. “At the end of the day, I believe this is where I am.”

Following the vote, the board took a break to let the gallery full of transit employees and management empty the chambers.

“I have to be honest with you,” Veolia Transportation Regional Vice President Michael Ake said on the way out. “I think they make a very poor choice.”

Outside the county complex, transit union officials and bus employees felt differently. The hugged and congratulated each other.

“It was a win because we heard the right thing in there,” said Mike Lowery, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1395.

What they had heard was a board of commissioners that realized the workers were not happy with management. The situation had become what Commissioner Robertson called “in-correctable.”

“For that reason, I think it’s inevitable that we have to make a change,” Robertson had told his fellow commissioners just before the vote.

 

– check back for the full account of the Dec. 8 Escambia County Commission meeting

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  • Michael A. Lowery, President/Business Agent, ATU Local 1395 December 17, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Henry,

    Just FYI – during the board meeting the Union asked for MV Transportation to receive the Management contract. MV is based out of California. The Board selected First Transit – your right a Company based out of England. Well we’ll have to hope this Company at least does a better job providing a service for the people and treating the employees with respect. Some of the Commissioners did say if this Company does not provide a good service and better treatment to the employees they too will be removed.

  • Henry December 17, 2011 at 10:41 am

    “Why do we find it right to bring in companies from France to run transit in this country. They are in it solely for profit and send that profit back to France. Whats wrong with this picture”

    Now the profits will go back to England…what’s the difference?

  • Stewart Ransom December 17, 2011 at 2:57 am

    Why do we find it right to bring in companies from France to run transit in this country. They are in it solely for profit and send that profit back to France. Whats wrong with this picture

  • Barbara Mayall December 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Veolia has had a long tome to make things right and last night after all the employees and riders told their stories and experiences with this management co. There wasnt even a hint of an apology from Veoila management. Your visit was to long. I hope you will find it in your heart to realize you have to treat employees like people and it isnt always about the bottom line.