Three Cheers For The B Team

House Democrat turns on the heat.

Steudle-GranholmKirk Steudle was appointed long before Rick Snyder was the new sheriff.

Jennifer Granholm appointed Steudle to the Michigan Department of Transportation post in 2006. He did such a bang up job leading to our current road conditions across the state, that no local communities have had to pursue their own millages for road fixes, and the trunklines, bridges and arteries are in top notch shape.  In fact, we have been able to lower taxes, return money to taxpayers and by-golly, put shock absorber companies at risk due to lack of business.

Now, [SARC OFF] a Democrat legislator is doing the job that any one of dozens of Republicans should have done LONG before ever asking taxpayers to bend over last May.  From the Lansing State Journal:

In a news release late Wednesday, State Rep. Scott Dianda, D-Calumet, a former MDOT employee and state employee union official, said he’d introduced a bipartisan resolution citing numerous issues — from idle railcars that cost millions of dollars to state auditors’ repeated warnings about weak oversight of MDOT’s warranty program — that he says show Steudle is “unfit to lead the department.”

Huh, I wonder where we have seen that before?

Never fear however, in the same article, Governor Rick Snyder defends his Granholm legacy (Steudle, I mean) lauding the director for  national recognition, acting skills, showing up for work, etc.

And even another Michigan bureaucrat had nice words.

MDOT spokesman Jeff Cranson said in a separate email that Dianda’s assertions were “totally ridiculous and conclusory.”

In other news, MDoT spokesman Jeff Cranson is reportedly keeping his job for now.

Dianda’s resolution reads:

Rep. Dianda offered the following resolution:
House Resolution No. 175.
A resolution to declare the Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle unfit to lead the department and express our lack of confidence in his leadership.

Whereas, Kirk Steudle has served as Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Director since 2006, under both Governor Granholm and Governor Snyder. As Director, Mr. Steudle oversees the construction, maintenance, and operation of state roads and bridges, along with local agency federal aid, public transportation, and aeronautics and rail services. The department directly employs over 2500 people and has a budget of more than $3 billion. The Michigan Department of Transportation Director Steudle has not proven to be a good steward of Michigan taxpayer dollars or MDOT employees; and

Whereas, In 2010 the Michigan Department of Transportation began leasing twenty-three rail cars for proposed future rail passenger service between Ann Arbor and Howell and Ann Arbor and Detroit. The cars are rented for $1.1million a year and have sat in a rail yard in Owosso since 2010, racking up costs to taxpayers of almost $12 million in refurbishing and lease charges. MDOT has yet to secure funding or an operator, complete environmental studies, or upgrade track for the proposed rail projects. The cars will not be used for at least another two years. MDOT officials have admitted the cost has been more than they wished. It appears that at worst, MDOT has put money toward projects that may never come to fruition, and at best, is guilty of poor timing between securing equipment and beginning the rail service; and
Whereas, In 2010 MDOT spent $9.5 million on a landscaping project along I-696 between I-75 and I-94 in Macomb and Oakland counties. Two years later, there was a die-off of plantings over large stretches of the area due to erosion, partly caused by mowing, which leached eroded soils into the storm drainage system.

Now, MDOT is spending $2.3 million for mulch plus $620,000 in a replanting effort to repair the damage. Poor planning and lack of foresight exacerbated this problem; and Whereas, In 2015, an Auditor General’s report cited MDOT for not following up on road warranties which hold contractors responsible for their work. The department often failed to inspect work and ensure that contractors corrected deficiencies. Over half of warranties expired before MDOT followed up, which put the responsibility and cost for any corrective action on the state instead of the contractor. Similar issues were raised in a 2010 audit and were not comprehensively addressed; and

Whereas, The Federal Highway Administration has endorsed the employment of an Equal Employment Opportunity Officer within state transportation agencies as a best practice.

The MDOT civil rights compliance officer has not been supported by Director Steudle, and has accused him of bullying, diverting work from her office, and a lack of leadership in the areas of equal rights and workplace discrimination; and Whereas, His lack of sensitivity to staff issues and his mismanagement of scarce state funds in the face of the current road funding deficit are unacceptable and demonstrate a failure to properly administer the office and responsibilities of Director of the Michigan Department of Transportation; now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives, That we declare the Michigan Department of Transportation Director Kirk Steudle unfit to lead the department and express our lack of confidence in his leadership; and be it further Resolved, That copies of this resolution be transmitted to the Governor of Michigan.

For more or less of the above and more?

Indeed.

You Betcha! (13)Nuh Uh.(0)

  4 comments for “Three Cheers For The B Team

  1. Corinthian Scales
    October 23, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    And in other important legislative news: http://michiganvotes.org/RollCall.aspx?ID=718149

    Tar, feather, politicians, rail*.

    *Some assembly required.

    You Betcha! (5)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • KG One
      October 27, 2015 at 8:48 am

      One note that I need to add to this.

      This weekend after the Michigan Senate was confidently patting itself on the back for clearing out useless bills from the hopper, the Yankee Air Force Museum held a event to get the most "Rosie the Riveters" together in one place for a promotion of their new Willow Run Museum which was where the Liberator was built in the largest numbers.

      Debbie Dingell showed up.

      Guess who (and her 37 other colleagues) didn't?

      You Betcha! (0)Nuh Uh.(0)

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