Friday, January 18, 2013

The First Annual Richard Sarles Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence

Update: A reader pointed out a HUGE omission in this post. Less than two weeks before the Red Line crash,  former Metro GM John Catoe was named best transit manager in the U.S.

 Yesterday, Metro announced that GM Richard Sarles had been among those honored by the National Safety Council as one of 2013's CEOs Who 'Get It,' and  are "recognized for dedication to safety excellence."

Considering 2013 is not even a month old and Metro has already had at least a wrong-side door opening, a derailment, a mega-meltdown on the Red Line that left platforms dangerously overcrowded, an absent station manager during a medical crisis, and numerous reports of smoke filling the stations, the timing of the award is, well, hilarious.

Obviously, none of the judges at the NSC ride Metro regularly (their HQ is in Illinois) because if they did, they'd realize safety is Metro's Lennay Kekua--a great sounding story that's purely imaginary. Every single Metro source I've talked to over the years tells me Metro practices safety when it's convenient.  When it's not convenient, all bets are off.

The NSC's award may have had some significance long ago, but by awarding Sarles, it's hard not to believe that the award has devolved into nothing but PR ludicrousness, a vanity award hollowed of any meaning.

Take 2010's winner, Boeing CEO James McNerney. People are now calling for his head after the company's global fleet of 787 Dreamliners, has been grounded for serious safety concerns. Hopefully, that's not a precursor for Metro and the 7000-series clunkers cars. The NSC curse anyone?

So to recap, Metro union boss Jackie Jeter bagged her hollow "champion of change" award from the White House, and Sarles is considered a safety leader from among all the thousands of CEOs in the country by an important sounding safety organization.

What's next on the Metro award front?

My bet is that foot-in-mouth maestro Dan Stessel will walk away with the 2013 Sexual Harassment Sensitivity Award. Any takers?

It all feels rigged. The B.S. infrastructure is strong, sturdy and loaded up with money while the real infrastructure is crumbling before our eyes.  Metro's just one example.

Other items:
Hope these are better than the new escalators at Dupont S. (WMATA)
Metro has greatly improved the bus maps (WMATA)

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