MTD board formally approves next director

MTD board formally approves next director

CHAMPAIGN — The man designated to be the next director of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District will make $112,000 in the current year and $135,000 a year when he takes over as full-time director next July 1.

The MTD board approved a four-year contract with managing director designate Karl Gnadt on Wednesday. Gnadt, 46, has been the MTD's director of market development since 1995 and before that was director of Danville's bus system.

Next year he will succeed Bill Volk, who has headed the MTD since 1974. Volk, 64, said Wednesday that he made $13,000 in his first year. His current salary is $165,000, but with deferred compensation he gets about $286,000 a year.

MTD board Chairman Don Uchtmann said that only MTD employees were interviewed for the position. He declined to identify the other candidates.

"We began our search inside, with an understanding that if we were not successful there, we would expand the search," said Uchtmann. "We had more than one outstanding candidate from inside the organization and we saw no need to look further."

Uchtmann said the board chose Gnadt "because he has experience working as the executive director of a mass transit system, he has been with us for 19 years and is familiar with the community. He knows the district and its operations very well and is very forward-thinking.

"There will be many challenges that our district will face in the years to come, and we think this background as already a part of our community will help him move quickly into a leadership role."

Board member Linda Bauer said she was pleased that the search for Volk's successor was conducted internally, and "that we didn't have the extra expense that might happen with an outside search."

Like Volk, Gnadt is a graduate of Indiana University, with a B.S. in public administration with a concentration in public transportation.

Uchtmann said Gnadt's salary was determined based on a review of similar positions in the transit industry, "especially trying to identify comparable systems," and "we tried to identify comparable positions in our community."

He noted that Volk makes significantly more that Gnadt is slated to, "but Bill has been here a long, long time and his salary today partly represents money he is making because he has stayed."

When Volk began 39 years ago, the MTD had 23 buses, about 50 employees and an annual ridership of about 700,000. The system now has 102 buses, 328 employees and recently established a ridership record of 12 million, for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Also Wednesday the MTD board approved an architecture and engineering contract worth $1.12 million with IGW Architecture of Urbana for a bus storage expansion project at 801 W. University Ave., U. The 1975-era building there will be razed and a larger structure, with space for more than 150 vehicles, will be built.

Demolition is expected to begin in the spring of 2015. The project, estimated to cost more than $12 million, will be financed with state and federal money.

Annexation hearings have been set for later this month for two new areas proposed to be incorporated into the mass transit district.

A public hearing will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Stephens Family YMCA for the annexation of the YMCA and the Windsor West apartment complex.

A second hearing will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 15 at the Savoy Recreation Center, 402 Graham Drive, Savoy, for the annexation of the Prairie Meadows subdivision in Savoy.