Metro Council begins investigation of CATS board members

(file photo)

A Metro Council committee plans to meet today to begin the process of evaluating and possibly removing members of the Capital Area Transit System board.

Voters last year renewed a 10.6-mill dedicated tax for CATS that raises about $17.6 million per year, which is about 60% of the system’s budget. But accusations of financial mismanagement led the council to establish the committee to take a closer look at the conduct of board members, whom the council appoints. 

In June, CATS fired CEO Bill Deville, who had already been sidelined following a series of controversies but had continued to receive his salary amid concerns that he might take legal action against the board.

CATS last fall addressed complaints about the possible misuse of funds, though Deville called the accusations “without merit” based on his review. The system subsequently parted ways with CAO Pearlina Thomas, after audio surfaced in which she claimed $5 million was missing from the agency. Thomas said the incident involved a poor choice of words, and that there was not $5 million missing.

Today’s meeting will include discussing the criteria to judge the members and hiring legal counsel, according to the agenda. The full council would have to vote for removal. 

The meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. today in the Metro Council chambers at City Hall, 222 St. Louis St.