It would take months, maybe years, for the most seasoned PR professional to attempt to rehabilitate the reputation of Metro GM John Catoe.
But just when you think it couldn't get any worse for the beleaguered GM, along comes a gift from heaven--someone who actually makes Catoe look, well, OK.
For all his faults, Catoe usually at least SAYS the right thing when a microphone is shoved in his face.
You can’t really say the same for Jackie Jeter, the president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, the union that represents Metro operators.
In a span of days, Jeter has pretty much alienated any riders who may have had residual sympathy for the union.
First, in response to passenger frustration with continuing Red Line delays, she said we were lucky to be alive.
Second, she appeared to want to use the ban on cell phone use as a bargaining chip for getting Metro to install better communications gear.
Now, in response to increased public interest in what bus and train operators are actually doing behind the wheel given the videos and photos that have surfaced, Ms. Jeter tells WTOP "Being watched 24/7 is a problem. I don't think any of us would like that. And I ask (riders) to respect the operators and the jobs that they do."
If this some kind of elaborate plot to make Catoe actually look pretty good in comparison, it’s working.
Hey Jackie, we know bartenders who deal with having their every move on camera "24/7," and they're only responsible for pouring drinks and handling a little money!
When you say stuff like that, Jackie, you only make riders more adversarial.
Your best bet: Stop talking, and if your operators do their job like they're supposed to--most do--this will all blow over.
Metro seeks outside help (WTOP)
Catoe regrets continuing delays (WaPo)
Metro meeting with vendors to finally install backup (WaPo)
Profile of Deborah Hersman of the NTSB (WaPo)
Metro growing tired of NTSB (WTOP)