Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Vice Chairman of the Sunset Empire Transportation District has tendered his resignation. Ron Bline of Seaside served as Board Chair for two years helping guide the reorganization of the transportation district following the stormy departure of long time Executive Director Cindy Howe and the abrupt cancellation of the majority of the routes at the time.  The district continues to recover from the fall-out of the devastating revelations of financial insolvency and mis-use of public funds and grants that caused the district to scale back with the realization they were badly over-extended. There was significant public outcry over the cuts to service and Bline Chaired many public meetings where residents dependent on the service testified repeatedly as the process of discovery regarding the district finances and the former Director continued. The board, under Bline, put transportation system consultants in place who began the work of restructuring and now the District is under the direction of Executive Director Jay Flint. Flint recently negotiated a settlement, approved by the board for the repayment of funds to the federal government that the district had collected in over payments for subsidized rides for which there was faulty documentation.  The district has reestablished some routes and has re-established a connector route service through Columbia county but it is unlikely the  SETD system will grow back to it's previous levels under Howe.

With Bline's departure the board is composed of Paul Lewicki, the current board chair and Rae Goforth is secretary treasurer. Carol Gearin, Marcia Fenske, Julie Gassner and Victor Kee.  The District submitted the following solicitation seeking a member to take Bline's position:

The Sunset Empire Transportation District Board of Commissioners is requesting application from citizens interested in filling an opening on their Board. The Sunset Empire Transportation Board of Commissioners is responsible for setting policy for the operations of all public transportation in Clatsop County and oversees a budget of approximately 5 million dollars. The District operates 4 weekday fixed routes and 3 weekend fixed routes providing connecting services to Columbia and Tillamook County.  The District owns an intermodal Transit Center in downtown Astoria and an Operations facility in Warrenton. In addition, the District oversees the operations of the Northwest Ride Center, a call center for dispatching Medicaid rides in Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties which is also located in Warrenton. The person appointed to this position will serve until the next district election in May, 2013.  Applications will be accepted from November 12, 2012 until the District Board meeting on November 29, 2012 at 9am, upon which a candidate will be appointed upon a board vote from the applications received by that time. Application forms are available on the District's website at www.ridethebus.org or may be picked up at the Astoria Transit Center ticket desk. For more information please contact Jay Flint, Executive Director by phone at 503-861-5399 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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