Contra Costa Times editorial | posted: 12/27/2014
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission should fire its chief prima donna.
Whether it’s the Bay Bridge, empire-building real estate speculation or self-indulgent travel, Executive Director Steve Heminger shows disregard for the public purse. To him, it seems, cost is no object and the ends justify the means.
Commissioner Steve Kinsey, a Marin County supervisor, assessed the fallout. “We’re ending up as a kind of a prima donna agency in the eyes of the public,” he said. “We’re acting in ways that appear to be indifferent to the economic realities and the frustrations of the traveling public.”
While Heminger officially reports to a board, in practice it’s often flipped. The commissioners, mostly city or county representatives, worry first about securing money for their locales, which requires remaining in Heminger’s good graces. After 14 years running MTC, Heminger has become the regional transportation czar.
In three years, he flew to conferences in Tokyo, Sydney, Beijing and Vienna using air tickets costing more than $45,000, Bloomberg reported. MTC rules require travel by the most economical means, but Heminger ignores them.