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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Kelley Britt Resigns From RTA Board After Ohio Ethics Commission Ruling

Posted By on Wed, Aug 15, 2018 at 12:12 PM

click to enlarge ATU President William Nix speaks at CPT rally, (7/23/2018). - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • ATU President William Nix speaks at CPT rally, (7/23/2018).

Though she disagreed with its ruling, Kelley Britt resigned from the RTA board this week after the Ohio Ethics Commission said she couldn't hold that role in addition to her job as a senior transportation planner with the Northeast Ohio Area Coordinating Agency.

Britt had been appointed three months ago by Frank Jackson after longtime board chair George Dixon III resigned in March amidst an internal investigation that discovered he'd likely failed to pay premiums on his RTA-furnished health insurance for years.

Jackson will appoint a replacement.

The move comes amid a particularly bumpy period for the transit agency. Westlake mayor Dennis Clough was recently elected board chair as Valarie McCall withdrew her candidacy. The board voted late last month to rapidly accelerate what's being politely called a "leadership transition," which will boot CEO/GM Joe Calabrese from the organization's top position and transfer him to a senior advisory role at the end of August.

Calabrese has come under fire recently for his leadership during a prolonged scandal involving board chair George Dixon III and, by riders and activists, for his failure to adequately prepare for dramatic funding shortages, which have led to fare hikes and service cuts in recent years.

The board also last week decided against placing a tax levy on the November ballot to address RTA's staggering economic needs, much to the chagrin of vocal transit advocates, as well as board member Trevor Elkins, who said that 2018 was the ideal year for a ballot measure. Voter turnout is expected to be strong in Cuyahoga County, the state's Democratic stronghold, with both Senator Sherrod Brown and Governor Richard Cordray seeking election.

"Furthermore, even if unsuccessful, this election offers an opportunity to revise a proposal and go back to voters in a future election," Clevelanders for Public Transit said in a statement. "The continued lack of funding will result in additional cuts and fare increases for the 150,000 Cuyahoga County residents that use transit."

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