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Front Page » Top Stories » Transit Watchdog Panel Loses Another Member

Transit Watchdog Panel Loses Another Member

Written by on December 9, 2004

By Samantha Joseph
The Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust is down yet another board member, with two empty seats among the 15.

The latest departure is Luis Morse, who said a heavy work schedule drove him to leave the board.

His resignation follows those of Frank Hall Jr., Clarence Days, Mike Abrams, Maria Elena Coto, Elsa Lopez, Herminio Lorenzo and former chairman John Cosgrove.

Apart from a three-week stretch last spring when it had 15 trustees, the CITT hasn’t been full since it was formed following the November 2002 passage of a half-percent sales tax for transportation that the trust was created to oversee.

It lost Mr. Cosgrove and executive director Hilda Fernandez in May and by September had three empty seats on its board of trustees.

On Thursday, the group inducted Susannah Troner, Department of Environmental Education and Community Outreach project manager, to fill Mr. Cosgrove’s seat as a member.

Vacancies remain for the county’s fifth and 13th districts, and the trust is still seeking a financial consultant.

The trust was created to oversee spending of the $17 billion transportation expansion plan derived from the half-percent tax but has come into conflict with the county commission over its role.

"I really consider the CITT more of an advisory board rather than a trust," said Mr. Morse. "We are doing what the county commission wishes."

The former state representative operates a private consulting company. He said he was neglecting the company when he was serving on the trust.

"It’s really putting a crimp in what I do as far as lobbying," he said. "It’s not fair to all the other members to say that I’m not attending the meetings because I have to take care of my personal meetings."

In his resignation letter, Mr. Morse commended the trust’s staff, particularly Virginia Diaz, division director of external affairs.

"The trust does have very good people," he said Friday, "people who want to do what’s best for the county."