at the Business Meeting of June 29, 1999,
with the addition of Wendell Cox to the List of those attending)
The Amtrak Reform
Council (ARC or Council) held its business meeting at the
Department of Transportation, Nassif Building, at 400 Seventh
Street, S.W. in Washington, D.C. on Monday, May 17, 1999.
present: Gil Carmichael; Wendell Cox; S. Lee Kling; Associate
Administrator for Railroad Development, James T. McQueen for
the Secretary of Transportation, Rodney E. Slater; Paul M.
Weyrich; and Joseph Vranich. Christopher Gleason participated
via conference call.
chaired the meeting and Deirdre O'Sullivan served as secretary.
Remarks Given by Chairman Gil Carmichael & Approval of
Chairman welcomed the Council members and the audience to
the meeting. The minutes for the April 26th business meeting
were presented to the Council for Approval by Mr. Carmichael.
The minutes were amended by changing the wording in the first
sentence from "first business meeting" to "first regional
meeting" and the title for Ms. Molitoris was changed from
"Federal Rail Administrator" to "Federal Railroad Administrator."
The minutes with approved amendments were approved unanimously
by the Council present.
of Budget Request Sent to Congress
of Council Member Clarence Monin, Mr. Charles Moneypenney,
brought up the point that during the March 15th meeting when
the Budget Request was discussed by the Council that he believed
no vote was recorded on that action. He further added that
the Budget Request sent to Congressman Wolf on March 26th
stated that "the Council reviewed and approved this vote"1
but no vote was taken, and that there was never a discussion
of a specific amount. He also stated that the last word on
the subject was that two budgets would be prepared: one with
consultants and one without and that was the end of the discussion.
added that there were no objections from the Council at that
time and Mr. Moneypenney replied that there was no budget
to object to. Mr. Carmichael let Mr. Thomas A. Till, Executive
Mr. Till stated that he wanted to address this point because
it pertains to the credibility of the Council. He also stated
this issue was not included in the April 26th minutes because
it was brought up after the business meeting had concluded.
He further added that the Minutes from the March 15th business
meeting had been approved without objection on April 26th
and they indicated that the Council had approved the process
in which the staff would prepare a Budget Request in excess
of $750,000 and that the Chairman would review the request
on behalf of the Council and forward it to Congress because
of the time constraint that the Council was working under.
Furthermore, he added that it was his understanding and that
of Mr. Carmichael at the end of the March 15th meeting that
they had the authority from the Council to proceed on that
plan. Also, he stated it was understood that the Administration
did not give its approval nor did the Labor representative
but there was a quorum effective at the time and the letter
to Congressman Wolf stated that the Council had approved the
budget and indeed it had.
Mr. Cox and Mr.
Kling stated that in the future passing a motion as important
as the annual budget should be done more carefully and with
the full understanding of all of those present and that the
Council should learn from this and move on. Mr. Carmichael
agreed and he further added that he knew where the Administration
and Mr. Monin were on this issue, and that he believed that
he had the authority to submit the Budget Request and he had
Mr. Weyrich stated
that he took exception to the remarks regarding the "veil
of secrecy" in Mr. Monin's letter to Congress."
Mr. Carmichael asked Mr. Moneypenney if he had anything further
to add. Mr. Moneypenney stated that there was nothing more
to say on the issue. Mr. Carmichael stated that each individual
had stated their opinion on the subject and the general opinion
is "let's go forward." He then ended the discussion
by asking if anyone else had an opinion. With no reply from
the Council, he ended the discussion.
Later in the
meeting, Mr. McQueen asked what the procedure was in determining
the answers to Senator Shelby's questions about the budget.
Mr. Till replied that the answers were written by the Council's
staff and submitted to the Council for comments. He also added
that nine Council members had no comment and the comments
from Labor and the Administration were reflected in the cover
letter to Senator Shelby.
Direstor's Report Given by Tom Till
Meetings and Work Programs
of future meetings focused on three major issues: one, does
the schedule square with the budget; two, when will the
staff prepare a work program and list of expected products
that squares with the Council's statutory mandate; and three,
will having all of these regional meeting leave enough time
for the Council to focus on the Annual Report to Congress
due in January 2000. Mr. Till stated that the budget will
support all of the meetings and that the work program would
be sent to the Council soon. In the end it was the consensus
of the Council to have the Charlotte Outreach and Business
Meeting on June 29th, the Seattle Business Meeting on August
31st, a proposed Chicago Outreach and Business Meeting on
October 13th & 14th, and a proposed early December Business
Meeting in Washington. The schedule for the committee sessions
would be decided upon later. The subject of the Dallas meeting
was brought up by Mr. Till who said that the timing for
that meeting would depend on word from Senator Hutchison's
office as to whether or not she could participate. It was
also the consensus of the Council to postpone the Burlington,
VT trip and the Dallas trip, unless the Senator decided
otherwise regarding the Dallas meeting.
asked about the additional staffers that are not yet hired
including the financial analyst and rail expert. Mr. McQueen
stated that Mr. Till had requested another senior level
employee, that request was working its way through the system,
and that it was not a two or three week process. Mr. Carmichael
asked Mr. McQueen to do whatever was necessary to expedite
stated that the Council had established four Committees to
better evaluate information. These include Productivity, Organization
and Management, Financial Analysis, and Rail Passenger Network.
Mr. Carmichael stated that he had asked the individual Council
members to advise him what committees they would like to be
on and those who had not replied he would assign to committees.
In response to a statement from Mr. Moneypenney that Labor
reserved the right to show up at any [Committee] meeting,
Mr. Carmichael stated that "All committee meetings in a corporate
board you're invited to. We're going to work like a corporate
board and you can sit in on every one of them. There's no
problem." Mr. Gleason then asked if he could change his request
to Rail Passenger Network and Mr. Carmichael agreed.
Tom Till stated
that before the meeting he had received a request from Mr.
Monin that the Conflict of Interest discussion be postponed
because Mr. Monin would not be able to attend this meeting.
Mr. Till further added that he told Mr. Monin that he would
forward his request to the rest of the Council. Mr. Carmichael
asked Mr. Moneypenney if he had any comments. Mr. Moneypenney
stated that there is a developing situation in Boston where
one of Mr. Carmichael's companies was in negotiations with
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to take
over work currently being done by Amtrak whose employees are
represented by Mr. Moneypenney's union.
explained that MBTA was required by law to open the bidding
process for specific work being currently done by Amtrak.
He further added that four companies had put in bids at MBTA
including Mr. Carmichael's company and Amtrak and three of
the bidders had bid about $90 million less than Amtrak.
At this point
in the discussion, Mr. Weyrich moved that the Council postpone
the discussion and that motion was seconded by Mr. Cox. Mr.
Vranich asked that the Yeas and Nays be counted. Mr. Carmichael,
Mr. Gleason, Mr. Kling, Mr. McQueen, Mr. Weyrich, and Mr.
Vranich all voted in the affirmative.
Mr. Kolson explained
after the vote that the Conflict of Interest policy focuses
on the voting procedures on matters where Conflict of Interest
is determined. He also stated that this was the same policy
followed by Lockheed Martin and Amtrak and that he had discussed
this issue with the Ethics Counsel at DOT and the Counsel
at FRA and both agreed that this was a fair procedure.
VI. Other Business
Mr. McQueen asked
that in developing the Work Plan the Council staff should
work with Amtrak employees and Amtrak. Mr. Vranich stated
that he took exception to that remark because that meant the
Council has not been including them all along. Mr. Carmichael
asked for any other comments and there was none.
to End the Business Meeting
moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Cox seconded the motion.
The motion was passed unanimously to adjourn.
The letter to Congressman Wolf dated March 26th stated that
"…Council's staff has proposed, and the Council has approved,
a request for $1,300,000 for FY2000."
The ARC is an independent federal commission established under the Amtrak Reform
and Accountability Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-134).