While the nine new members of the OCTA Board had an opportunity to revisit the selection of Darrell Johnson as the agency’s chief executive, his appointment was unanimous per the Register and the union-funded Voice of OC. Johnson’s original selection was more a Brown Act issue than it was about him (he’s absolutely more competent than his predecessor) — some of the BOS Directors were unable to vote on him as it did not occur during a regular Board meeting. We thought that to be a fairly serious legal issue but apparently no one else did.
Directors Bates and Moorlach reportedly had issues with Johnson’s public employee pension and severance arrangement, but if we were Johnson, we’d be asking why he’s making considerably less than soon-to-be-departing CEO Kempton ($255 annually vs. $409k as reported and recently clarified by the OC Weekly). Then again, Johnson isn’t an Assistant Master of the Universe as was Kempton.
Johnson’s background is in trains and not buses — the latter’s operation being the OCTA’s primary responsibility since the Metrolink Board really controls commuter rail in southern California. The OC’s only representation on that Board is real estate consultant and non-elected OCTA Public Member Michael Hennessey. Given Johnson’s background, experience with Metrolink, the extraordinary costs of its operation and fares, its actual cost per ride that’s never revealed to the press or public, its terrible safety record and its limited value and service coverage in Orange County, we’d move to have him on that Board sooner than later.