MTD board set to appoint 2nd director in 40 years

MTD board set to appoint 2nd director in 40 years

Former director of Danville MTD due for final OK at July meeting

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District is on the verge of hiring only its second director in the last 40 years.

MTD board members Wednesday tentatively selected Karl Gnadt, currently the system's director of market development, as the successor to Bill Volk, who has headed the transit district since 1974.

Gnadt's hiring and contact will be voted on at the MTD's July board meeting. As proposed, he would become managing director designate until July 1, 2014, when Volk, 64, is scheduled to retire.

Gnadt, 46, has been with the MTD since 1995. He had been director of Danville Mass Transit from 1991 to 1995. Like Volk, he is a graduate of Indiana University, with a B.S. in public administration with a concentration in public transportation.

Gnadt lives in Urbana with his wife Heidi, and sons Roland and Isaac.

"Our board has been working since last fall on Mr. Volk's replacement," said Don Uchtmann, chair of the MTD board. "The board soon realized that an outstanding candidate was already a part of the MTD's leadership team. Mr. Gnadt knows the district and its operations and is a resident of the local community. I am confident he will continue the commitment to excellent public service that is deeply ingrained within MTD and will lead the district into a successful future."

Gnadt is responsible for two developments at the MTD in recent years: its real-time passenger information system and its sustainability efforts.

In a memo sent to MTD employees Wednesday, Uchtmann wrote:

"The Board thanks those who contributed to the search process, including those who responded to the Board's mid-December employee survey seeking input on the desired qualifications of a new Managing Director and those who participated in various discussions related to the search. It is not surprising that the next Managing Director is being selected from inside the organization. CUMTD has an exceptional management team that has many very talented, dedicated leaders. CUMTD's commitment to excellence in the way we serve the public is deeply ingrained in our management team and in our drivers, maintenance personnel, staff, and all who support the mission of CUMTD."

Also Wednesday, the MTD board:

— Unanimously adopted a $34.2 million budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The budget is 7.8 percent greater than the current year's spending plan, mainly because of service expansions scheduled to go into effect in August. The biggest change is expanded service on the Green line to the Country Fair Shopping Center area in west Champaign. Revenue includes an anticipated 10 percent increase in state funding, which is dependent on Gov. Pat Quinn signing the budget sent to him by the Legislature. It also assumes a 4.9 percent increase in property tax revenue next year,

— Learned that the system has set another record for annual ridership in 2012-13. The MTD's fiscal year ends June 30, but ridership is already well past last year's record of 11.1 million passengers. At the end of May the MTD already had carried 11.5 million passengers and likely will exceed 12 million for the fiscal year. The system set ridership records in 11 of 12 months this year, Volk said.

— Learned that public hearings will be scheduled later this summer to annex the Prairie Meadows subdivision in Savoy and the Windsor West apartments/Stephens Family YMCA area in southwest Champaign. The board voted to continue providing service to the latter area, even though the Champaign Southwest MTD has not yet dissolved. That agency voted to go out of business last week, although its board has not yet sent a letter to the Champaign County Board asking to be dissolved. It said it would do so once all of its revenue had been turned over to the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois.

— Approved an application for a $6 million state grant to demolish its facilities at 801 and 803 E. University Ave., U, and to rebuild a new bus garage there at a total cost of $13.7 million. The existing facilities are too small to accommodate the MTD's new, taller hybrid buses.

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