Metro President Apologizes For Viewing Porn

Metro leader George Greanias is back in the office, following a week-long suspension for viewing pornographic websites while at work. While some call for his resignation, the president and CEO maintains he can still be a strong leader for mass transit in Houston.

At least one religious group, the Houston Area Pastor Council, has called for Greanias to resign. Executive director Dave Welch says that while the pastors believe in forgiveness, Greanias should step down before seeking redemption.

“When somebody is using that kind of poor judgment in such a fundamental and egregious violation of basic moral principles, you’ve lost the ability to lead.”

Chris Zaidan works for Amegy Bank downtown and often rides the light rail during his lunch break. He says Greanias got off easy with a week’s suspension without pay.

“I think it’s crazy that somebody with that high of a status in a professional field would be looking at porn at work. If he wants to go on his lunch break and has a wireless card, go to some restaurant I guess, whatever floats your boat, but at work, I don’t know, that’s kind  of absurd.”

Greanias acknowledges he could have quit as a way of avoiding further public scrutiny, but not if he wanted to make an impact on Houston’s transportation future.

And he says he’s committed to that work and will accept the painful exposure as the price he’ll pay to keep working.

“Well, in many respects there was no choice, but to move forward. Now is it embarrassing, is it humiliating? Add any adjective you want — yes. Is it worth it in terms of the transit future of the region? Yes.”

Greanias issued a letter of apology to Metro’s 3500 workers on Monday. One of them, Raul Mendez, works as a dispatcher for METRO Lift, which provides rides for people with disabilities. 

“Like I don’t think this small event is going to affect his job or anything. So I don’t think he should resign. The embarrassment will go away soon, you know.”        

Mendez points out that when it comes to computer technology, the boundaries aren’t always that clear.

“I don’t know, it’s complicated you know? It is in the workplace, but at the same time it’s his own personal computer and his own time. But again it is a company internet.”

But Greanias says he’s not going to split digital hairs in his own defense.

“I appreciate people’s willingness to look at all angles of this thing, but the bottom line is that I did something that was wrong. I violated a Metro policy. I shouldn’t have been doing that on work hours. I could certainly argue that I work far more than a 40-hour week, but that’s immaterial. During work, at work, I should not have been doing it. That’s why the board was appropriate in its disciplinary action. That’s why I apologized for what I did, and that’s why I’m going to do everything I can to make up for what I think was a mistake.”

Greanias says that federal transportation officials have told the METRO board that this scandal is a local issue.

He adds that Metro remains on track to obtain $900 million in federal funds for the north and southeast light rail lines.

He says he thinks those agreements could be signed by the end of this year. 

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Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...