Chair West, Vice Chair Wright, Immediate Past Chair Woodbury, Members of theCommission, Mr. Harrell,Recently I was surprised to discover a peer review presentation which listed some issuesHRT had already addressed or are addressing in a very negative way. I was also surprisedthat the presentation totally ignored the extraordinary efforts and achievements theHRT staffs have done under the Commission's leadership since 2010. As an immediatepast CFO and Commission Treasurer & Secretary, I feel compelled to share a brief history with you below how HRT has significantly strengthened its financial andoperational management over the last couples of years, and I believe, as a governingbody, you should be proud of your leadership and acknowledge staff's achievements.1. In 2010, It was discovered that there were a cost overrun by $100M and constructiondelay by one and half year of the light rail project, serious financial oversight flaws,excessive violations of federal procurement rules, and serious internal controldeficiencies. Later 2010, two federal criminal inquiries were launched, one State DOTInspector General investigation was conducted, and two comprehensive FTAaudits/reviews (financial management oversight - FMO review and procurement review)were conducted. Under the strong leadership of Chairman Wood then, a series of corrective actions were launched.3. By March 2011, 70 significant deficiencies were cited by FTA, and FTA posted strictdeadlines for the corrections, or it might suspend its annual federal assistance toHRT which accounts for 34% of HRT's operating budget and 70% of capital budget.4. By April 2011, after almost a year long national search, I was hired as the CFO andBoard Treasurer to lead agency wide effort and work with other executive teammembers such as Jim Price, Sibyl Pappas to address all 70 significant deficiencies citedby FTA, establish best practice processes and policies and procedures, and review andcorrect over 20,000 light rail related transactions traced back to 2006, among othertasks.5. By middle of 2012, all 20,000 light rail related transactions were reviewed and/orcorrected and the total cost was reduced from $338M to $316M, and over 80 bestpractices policies or procedures were preliminarily developed. HRT's financial house wasin order and public confidence was restored. All 170 corrective actions aiming toaddress 70 significant deficiencies were developed and successfully implemented withover 5,500 pages of supporting documents. FTA reviewed all supporting documentsthoroughly, closed all these findings and issued close out letters to HRT in September2012. FTA auditors and officials highly appraised the massive efforts and extraordinarysuccesses of HRT.
This significant success was a result of Commission's strongleadership under past Chair Wood and Woodbury and current Chair West, as well asthe entire HRT team's endless and relentless efforts
. As an opposite, FTA suspendedover $182M ederal funding for Miami Dade Transit due to its failure to addressing FTA