State Says Metro Doing Better Job With Transparency

Metro has gotten a pat on the back from the State Comptroller's Office over its efforts to be a more open agency. Laurie Johnson explains.

Metro has scored the highest award possible, the Gold Leadership Circle Award, for financial transparency. It's the first time Metro has applied for the relatively new designation, but an important step in the agency's efforts to rehabilitate its reputation and image. Metro now puts important financial information on its website, something the agency didn't used to do. This is Metro President and CEO George Greanias.

"Our check register, Metro's list of the checks we've written, to whom, when, for how much and why, is all posted online on our website. If you're interested, you can go to our financial information tab on ridemetro.org website and you'll see everybody we've written a check to, how much, what for and our charge account register is there as well. It's all about putting information before the public so they have a clear idea of how you're performing as stewards of public money." 

Metro scored a 13 out of 15 on the Comptroller's rating scale. The agency has been plagued with a poor public image over the years, something Greanias says the award will help, but not completely cure.

"I have warned the board and the public and the staff that it's going to be 24-30 months before we achieve the kind of turnaround that we're not only pleased with that we feel comfortable will last. And so this announcement by the Texas Comptroller, I think that marks another step forward. It's by no means the last step or the only step
but I think it tells us we are making progress, bit by bit, towards our goals."

Capital Metro in Austin is the only other transit agency in Texas to earn the Gold Award. Metro has to reapply for the designation in one year.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...