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WMATA signs GM White to 7.5-year contract — a year early

Don’t put off until next December what you can do today. That seems to be what board members at Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority were thinking Dec. 27 when they inked a seven-and-a-half-year contract with General Manager Richard White, whose current contract wasn’t set to expire until December 2002.

The new contract will extend White’s WMATA term to 13 years, making White the longest-serving general manager in the agency’s history, exceeding the nine-year term served by Jackson Graham, WMATA’s first GM.

The contract, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2002 and expires June 30, 2009, expands White’s title to include "chief executive officer." His base annual salary immediately will increase 15 percent from $205,000 to $235,000, and increase 5 percent annually for the contract’s duration. White also will receive a $30,000 annual supplemental living allowance, which then increases $6,000 each year.

"We have one of the best transit system general managers in the nation, so we offered him a contract to reflect that," said Chairman Decatur Trotter in a prepared statement.

White’s package also is consistent with the "market-based approach" WMATA has used in recent years to compensate employees at all levels, said officials. WMATA earlier this year altered its compensation system for non-represented employees, in which salary ranges were based on what people in similar jobs were earning both nationally and locally.

"This is a very fair and equitable compensation package, particularly when you compare it to what the other top five transit agency general managers in the country receive today," said Trotter.

Roger Snoble, for example, in June signed a four-year contract to move from Dallas Area Rapid Transit to Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and earns a base salary of $295,000.

The board also stressed White’s leadership during and following Sept. 11. And, despite a $15 million revenue shortfall projected for the current fiscal year (FY 2002) and combined $23.8 million shortfall through FY 2003, the board praised White for finding ways to cut costs without fare increases or service cuts.

Cost reduction plans include eliminating or freezing 35 staff positions, trimming employees’ overtime hours, delaying office space construction at WMATA facilities, and cutting back on work that’s outsourced to consultants and contractors.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/28/2001