MTD seeks comments on replacing director

URBANA — The oversight board of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District is seeking comment on a set of criteria it has established for choosing a replacement for the man who has led the MTD for more than 38 years.

Bill Volk, the director of the transit system since 1974, is scheduled to retire on July 1, 2014.

The MTD board is seeking public comment on the criteria before it finalizes it at the Feb. 27 board meeting. A link to the ideals the board wants in a new director is available for review online at http://www.cumtd.com/about-us/news/article/305.

Among the traits the board wants in a new director:

— A degree or equivalent education and working experience in public administration or a related field with a record of continuing professional development.

— Extensive experience in public-sector management, preferably as a senior executive in a public transit system serving an urban area having a wide range of cultural, political and service dimensions.

— Experience working with appointed or elected board members and recognition of the respective roles of a managing director and a governing board in seeking consensus and guiding an organization.

— Experience working in partnership with a major university, government agencies and other entities to accomplish goals; experience cooperating with important stakeholders within the community.

— Familiarity with federal and state grant programs as well as private-sector resources that might be used to support projects that are beyond the financial resources of the district.

— Ability to understand the history and culture of the MTD and to be a strong personal example of the district's values, including recognition of the right of the public to be well informed.

— Personal traits of integrity, common sense, good judgment, unflappability, accessibility and initiative.

— Commitment to a management style which incorporates best practices in human resource management, is participatory and supportive, recognizes the importance of mentoring younger staff, and avoids micro-management.

"This defines who or what we are looking for," said board Chair Donald Uchtmann of Urbana. "Then our board will shift gears and concentrate on what process we establish to find this person. That work is still to be done."

Among those decisions is whether to hire a search firm or have the MTD board run the search itself.

"I think we see the advantages and disadvantages of various approaches," he said. "We need to finalize our criteria and then take a look at what our process will be."

Although Volk's retirement is more than a year away, Uchtmann said, it's good to work purposefully.

"I don't like to take comfort in the idea that it's more than a year away. My own view is that to do this job right we need to be deliberate, and not be attempting to rush at the last minute. We're trying to be thoughtful and deliberate for a process that will hopefully lead to the selection of an outstanding person to take over," he said. "We think this is one of the finest transit systems in the country, arguably the finest system for a community of our size. I believe this would be a very attractive position for someone who aspired to be managing director of a middle-sized public transit system."

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Danno wrote on February 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm

I'm unaware of what Mr. Volk's pay/experience is with respect to the afore mentioned  eight requirements are; only that it has been thirty eight years, which strikes me as being waaay too entrenched.

Here's an idea: a registered Professional Engineer in Transportation Engineering that's likely to have experience across public and private sectors. Someone experienced in operations research and statistical math modelling, and presentations to any governing bodies.

That may satiate all eight. It should not be the purpose of the future Director to embrace the whims of the governing bodies; but, an attempt of the governing bodies to embrace the objective proposals of the Director.

E.G.,the SWMTD fiasco may well have been prevented in the beginning.