Sunday, February 24, 2013

Broward County bus union allows horrible driver to stay on the job.

The greatness of today's union in a nutshell allowing this idiot to be kept on the job as long as he did while causing taxpayers $100,000 for injuring a passenger.

The settlement comes as the division's disciplinary system for bus drivers is under scrutiny, and the county auditor, Evan Lukic, prepares a report he expects to release in mid-March.

Lukic said his office was reviewing the history of another county bus driver who drew a lawsuit. That driver, Charles Butler, remained behind the wheel despite hitting 10 cars, losing his driver's license five times, showing up late and sparking a lawsuit settled by the county for $73,005, the Sun Sentinel reported in January.

Yet another driver, Larry Moore, remained behind the wheel until his January retirement, despite being held responsible for nine accidents and serving a total of 31 days of suspension for 19 disciplinary cases, the Sun Sentinel reported in January.

Similarly, Reid, 60, had built a track record of trouble before the incident that cost taxpayers $100,000, having four accidents he was held responsible for and racking up numerous complaints.

Reid's woes began in 2006, shortly after his hiring in October.

His first accident was in December that year, when he was making a turn onto Atlantic Boulevard and "made contact with a truck,'' causing "minor damage.''

He was warned that another accident during probation, "depending on the severity,'' could lead to discipline or termination, records in his personnel file say.

Five months after that, he broke the mirror off an SUV with his bus.

In January 2008, he had another mishap: hitting a barricade.

Because of his issues, the transit department intervened, requiring him to be retrained. That didn't go well, according to the transit instructors' memos.

Supervisors pointed out to him his history of incidents.

"They showed a pattern of poor defensive driving i.e., speeding, hard breaking and contact with a fixed object and other vehicles,'' his instructors wrote in a memo titled "Retraining of Bus Operator Herton Reid.''

The instructors rode on his bus, observing. While they watched, he broke five rules, including speeding and not allowing enough distance behind a vehicle in front of him. And at four railroad crossings, he failed to stop.

On the same ride, with instructors watching, a passenger was injured "while exiting the bus while the bus was still in motion,'' they reported afterwards.

"Operator Reid stated that he would do his best to correct the problems,'' the memo says in conclusion.

The year 2010 was a rough one for him, and for his passengers, his files indicate.

He had an accident in February 2010. He said his foot slipped off the brake at a stoplight, and he hit a truck in front of him. The bus's front-mounted bike rack made contact, denting the bike that was on it — a 15-speed bike owned by a man in his 60s, the police report says.

In April, it was time for a management sit-down.

Twelve passengers had complained already that year, about "rudeness, moving the bus when people are going to their seats, passing people at stops, and reckless driving,'' a memo in his file says.

He was counseled on "slowing his driving style down so as not to drive unsafe or jeopardize his passengers' safety.'' They also talked to him about his attitude toward passengers.

They offered the Employee Assistance Program, but he said he didn't need it.

Four months later, management called him in again. There'd been more complaints.

He received a mild caution.

so why wasn't he fired long before getting sued?

Transit Director Tim Garling said Reid's "work record is disappointing,'' but he never reached the firing threshhold under the union contract.

There you go.

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