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MARTA questioned about $144,000 study

8:33 PM, Oct 9, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA, Ga. -- MARTA's board chairman is defending a $144,000 study, even though the taxpayers who funded it have no tangible evidence that they got their money's worth.

Late Tuesday afternoon, MARTA board chairman Fredrick Daniels insisted the study has improved efficiency at the transportation authority.

"The public should feel comfortable the money was spent in the right way," Daniels said.

When pressed how the public can know that, Daniels responded, "We have improved performance on behalf of the management team."

In late 2010, MARTA signed a contract with The Business Psychology Company, a consulting team. According to documents provided by MARTA, the consultant was hired to, among other things, "evaluate the effectiveness of Dr. Beverly Scott, the General Manager/CEO of MARTA."

According to documents provided by MARTA, the transit authority's board agreed to pay $144,000.

MARTA spokesperson Lyle Harris says the consulting firm presented its results to the board during a December, 2011, retreat.

But the authority can produce no documentation that shows the results of the study.

State Representative Mike Jacobs, the head of the legislative committee that oversees MARTA, says the spending is questionable at best.

"The expenditure came at a time that MARTA was hemorrhaging money red ink," said Jacobs. "They're still hemorrhaging red ink. An expense of this kind needs to be scrutinized very closely."

Harris explained that part of the reason why there is no documentation on the study is that the board didn't ask for it.

"We saw an improvement in terms of their working relationship," said Daniels. "We saw improvement in terms of their efficiency, so it was well worth the taxpayers money to invest in the training that was put forth for the organization."

11Alive is continuing to dig to see if there is any documentation of the report presented orally during the December, 2001, board retreat.

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