New Leadership For RTA Bd After Longtime President Resigned Amid Investigation

Newly elected RTA board president Dennis Clough (center) oversees June meeting [Annie Wu / ideastream]
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The RTA Board of Trustees is under new leadership, months after the resignation of its previous longtime president. But the vote came after a surprise announcement from another candidate to lead the transit authority board.

Both Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough and Cleveland Chief of Government Affairs Valarie McCall had submitted their names for consideration as president.

Before the vote, Clough emphasized the importance of the Regional Transit Authority’s mission of serving its riders.

“It needs to be a safe ride, it needs to be quality service and we need to always be looking at ways to be more efficient but also to provide the quality services that our riders demand from us,” Clough said.

Then McCall read her letter to the board for her nomination as either president or vice president. She said the transit system is now at a crossroads with a need for a permanent funding model.

But, McCall said, “I believe we are not ready to ask the taxpayers to pay for a dedicated funding stream until we improve our current fiscal and managerial issues.

“I think we’re at a situation of mistrust,” she added, “mistrust of one another at the board level, mistrust of us with our own respective leadership and executive staff and we should not be there.”

She then withdrew her name from consideration, saying the board wasn’t taking its problems seriously.

McCall concluded her comments saying, ”I take my responsibilities serious, but I can’t say I want to lead where we don’t want to be leading together and following one another.”

That left Clough unopposed.

“We have a lot of things to address within this organization,” Clough said after the vote, “but I look forward to a positive approach to addressing those issues and to trying to deal with many of the challenges that we face.”

Rev. Charles Lucas was elected Vice President. Each will serve a one-year term.

Clough has served as the board’s interim president since George Dixon resigned in March. An investigation found he had failed to pay health insurance premiums for decades.

The Board on Tuesday also voted to rescind its policy of providing health care coverage for its members.

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