“There was a plan to vote on a dissolution of the RAC [Riders’ Advisory Council] today,” said RAC chairperson Katherine Kortum. “And that was removed from the agenda, so we were not dissolved today. We’re still alive.”
By removing the vote from the board agenda, Metro’s board of directors secured the future of its Riders’ Advisory Council.
Kortum said she found out the board was not going to disband the RAC when she arrived at Metro Headquarters the morning of the board meeting.
“The Riders’ Advisory Council item has been removed from the agenda, as we are going to move forward with continuing having the Riders’ Advisory Council,” said Board member Christian Dorsey, who represents Virginia.
Instead of disbanding the RAC, the Board of Directors will take steps to make the council more efficient and to use better practices so they can be more effective, Board chairman D.C. Council member Jack Evans said.
“The board will be working closely with the RAC to reform the RAC, to make it a more viable organization as we go forward,” Evans (Ward 2) said after the meeting. “So, it’s going to be smaller – I believe, 11 members. Certainly, one of the issues is to have outreach so it’s not just 11 members giving us their opinions … so that’s going to have to be worked out, how they can do that.”
Kortum, a D.C. resident, said a takeaway from Thursday’s Metro board meeting was “that public pressure had an impact – that the public, which has just given Metro hundreds of millions of extra dollars, decided they didn’t want to lose any of the transparency that currently exists.”
The Board agenda item to vote to end the RAC attracted the attention of elected officials, including U.S. senators representing Maryland and Virginia and the entire Montgomery County Council, who wrote letters to Evans saying they did not approve.
Evans said that he had been surprised when board members who had initially supported the resolution said they no longer wanted to terminate the RAC.
“The bottom line is, when we had our retreat, six members wanted to merge the RAC into the other thing we have, [Amplify], and… people changed their mind,” said Evans, later adding, “Since the will of the body was to keep the RAC and try to reform it, that’s why we ended up where we did.”
He added that the letters did not change his mind.
“But I want to suggest it wasn’t – at least my decision wasn’t based on getting letters from members of Congress,” Evans added.”
Kortum said that she and other RAC members were open to reforms to the RAC.