ASSEMBLY 20 | Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk is a man of science, a discipline predicated upon precise information. On Wednesday, a state audit of BART’s finances requested by Quirk will hopefully get the numbers straight.
The Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved the request after discrepancies were reported between the average wages of BART employees. BART management and union employees have been in a bitter labor dispute for much of the summer that is yet unresolved. An average annual wage of over $79,000 for BART train operators and station agents offered by management, widely reported by the local media was found to be skewed by the inclusion of six-figure salaries received by BART’s upper management. The average wage is somewhere around $64,000.
“This call for an audit is about accountability and transparency. The state has an obligation to make certain taxpayers know where their money is going,” said Quirk. “Unfortunately, recent events have made it clear that there are disagreements on several critical issues including employee salaries by classification, expenditures versus revenues to determine a structural deficit or surplus, projected costs of future capital improvements, and ongoing worker’s compensation practices regarding the use of temporary employees, just to name a few.”
The audit is also supported by Bay Area Assemblymembers Nancy Skinner, Rob Bonta, Tom Ammiano, and Phil Ting, along with State Sens. Ellen Corbett, Loni Hancock, Mark Leno and Mark DeSaulnier, who ruffled some union feathers by questioning BART’s right to strike.
The audit was first initiated by Quirk in July and will include BART’s finances during the past four years ending June 30, along with projected revenues and expenditures. According to the state auditor, a report may not be issued before spring 2014.