An investigation into allegations against two top officials at the Regional Transportation Authority has prompted the agency to order the two to attend management training programs, the RTA said Wednesday.
The two officials identified in a report prepared for the agency last year were Executive Director Joseph Costello and Chief of Staff Jordan Matyas.
The report's author, attorney Renee Benjamin, was hired by the RTA after the board's secretary received an anonymous written complaint from some employees June 5, 2012, the agency reported.
On Wednesday the RTA released a statement that said "although no substantial evidence was found to support allegations of Human Resources process violations or discrimination against women and minorities in hiring and firing practices ... the Board should ensure that clear and consistent personnel policies and procedures are adopted, effectively communicated to all staff members, and adhered to."
The Tribune is not specifying other allegations because there has been no formal complaint and the authenticity of a copy of the report the newspaper obtained could not be confirmed.
The RTA said that in addition to launching the investigation by Benjamin, it forwarded the complaint to the state's Office of Executive Inspector General. There has been no public response from that office.
The statement said the RTA complied with each recommendation in Benjamin's report.
Benjamin did not return a call for comment Wednesday. Neither did the RTA's chairman, John Gates Jr.
A spokeswoman for the RTA said Costello and Matyas would have no comment.
State Rep. Jack Franks, a longtime critic of the RTA and other transit agencies, questioned whether sending the two to training was an adequate response to the report's findings.
Franks also called on the RTA's board to publicly explain how the agency handled the allegations.
"I still don't think that (training) would be a sufficient penalty," Franks said.
Franks said he would consider calling a legislative hearing into the matter and the RTA's response, and added that he wanted to see the report, which has not been made public.
Franks questioned the circumstances behind Costello's resignation as executive director, which was announced last week. Costello will leave the RTA at the end of February.
"I think the RTA board needs to come clean as to whether (Costello) was asked to resign. The taxpayers have the right to know," Franks said.
On Wednesday, the RTA board confirmed Gates' appointment of Leanne Redden as acting executive director, effective March 1.
In its statement, the RTA said the agency was "turning a page."
Redden "is regarded by all as a consummate transit professional who is well-liked and respected. We look forward to a new day at the RTA," the statement said.
Several board members, including Compensation and Human Resources Committee Chairman Douglas Troiani, refused to discuss the report after an RTA board meeting Wednesday.
In the statement, the RTA said it had hired Benjamin to conduct "an independent investigation" of the allegations. Benjamin had worked as general counsel for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, when Gates was its chairman, before he was named chairman of the RTA in August 2010.
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