Feb. 17--10:07 a.m., Feb. 17 JTA reinstates 3 bus drivers
The Jacksonville Transportation Authority has suspended four bus drivers after finding out they did not have valid driver's licenses.
JTA spokesman John Finotti said Thursday the authority has been doing driver's license checks of their employees this week in reaction to a Times-Union investigation into the criminal and driving records of JTA bus drivers. Those checks revealed four drivers with suspended licenses.
Finotti said he did not have their names but that they are expected to be released today.
The JTA does not have a policy for how to deal with this issue, Finotti said, but is working to come up with one now.
The drivers will not be allowed to drive a bus until their licenses are valid, he said. But it's unclear if they will be paid while suspended or whether they will face any punishment beyond their suspension.
The Times-Union has been investigating the backgrounds of JTA bus drivers for months. The results of this investigation is scheduled to be published in Sunday's Times-Union. Some of those issues occurred while the drivers were at the agency.
Before the Times-Union investigation, the JTA did not do checks for criminal arrests after a driver was hired. It has a policy of checking annually for driver's license violations, but JTA staff acknowledge that was not always done.
JTA Executive Director Michael Blaylock vowed to fix these problems this week. He plans more criminal and background checks and said he wouldn't hire anyone in the future with a criminal record.
Transportation superintendent Charolette Hall, risk manager Joseph Lewis and bus operations analyst Roxanne Capehart lost their jobs this week after being held responsible by Blaylock for not doing a better screening of drivers.
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