SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin has laid off “roughly a dozen” executive staff members at the agency, according to a letter sent to staff today provided by spokesperson Paul Rose. Rose said the agency is not releasing any names yet.
In the letter, Reiskin says the move is intended to reduce the agency’s budget deficit:
I’m writing to give you a brief budget update. As we’ve been focusing on developing a balanced budget for the next two fiscal years, FY 12-13 and FY 13-14, for the MTA Board’s consideration next month, we’ve also been developing means of closing our current – FY 11-12 – budget shortfall. We are currently projected to spend nearly $30 million more than we’ve budgeted and what our revenues can support. We cannot end the fiscal year with expenditures exceeding revenues, so we need to take corrective steps now to ensure we end the year balanced.
To that end, I’m initiating a number of actions to reduce expenditures between now and the end of the fiscal year. These actions include freezing certain non-personnel expenses (contracts, materials), unencumbering funds for certain purchases that will not be completed this fiscal year, reducing overtime expenditures, and eliminating management positions.
While all of these reductions will be challenging, the most difficult by far is the position elimination. I have eliminated roughly a dozen management positions, most of which are filled. Managers in our agency play a vital role in planning and overseeing the resources that enable the MTA to function. But as we need to reduce expenditures, I’ve decided to eliminate these positions so that we can preserve front-line service.
Change like this is difficult and can be disruptive, especially for the impacted employees. We have endeavored to implement this change with the greatest possible amount of respect and sensitivity. We are providing whatever assistance we can to help those transitioning out, and will work to provide for a smooth transition for the rest of the organization.
In the long run, these changes will leave us with a more sustainable management structure as we enter the next fiscal cycle. I will continue to keep you posted as to the next steps with this change and budget development generally.
As always, your feedback is welcome.
Reiskin, who is known for having made major reforms as the previous director of the Department of Public Works, was hired as SFMTA director last July. His predecessor, Nat Ford, was criticized for a lack of committment to the agency.
Could this be a sign that the new director is cleaning house?
Sources have named a few mid-level managers in departments like parking enforcement, customer service, and operations safety, but we’ll provide updates as we get them.