RTA CEO writes check for nearly $19,000 after reimbursement issues

Posted at 10:15 PM, Mar 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-02 23:25:22-05

The CEO of the Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan is under scrutiny after spending and reimbursements caught the board of directors attention.

On Thursday, there was a regular board meeting.  The issue came up and there was even an executive session where the board discussed the matter.

Michael Ford has been the RTA CEO since 2014 and his contract is up in October.  The board is reviewing his possible renewal after the financial issues came to light.

It mostly comes down to nearly $19,000 of reimbursements that were issued to Ford, which were overpaid, the board is looking into whether is was just a mistake or if Ford was aware of it. At Thursday’s meeting Ford wrote a personal check to cover the entire cost of the overpayment.

"There were some items in his contract that said the board was obligated to pay him for, but some of those items were overcharged or over expensed,” said RTA spokesperson, Mario Morrow.

Morrow said costs like mileage, health care and cell phone bills are a part of Ford’s contract, but he said those expenses were being reimbursed at a much higher rate than they should have been.

"Since then Mr. Ford has issued a reimbursement check to the RTA for a little under $19,000 to compensate for that amount,” said Morrow.

Ford’s travel expenses have also come into question.  Expense reports show pricey hotel rooms, but Ford has not gone over the RTA’s travel budget.

"The board indicates that this check satisfies some of the issues, it could possibly, well I know that they're looking at other issues and we don't know the results as of yet,” said Morrow.

Now some, like Macomb County Executive, Mark Hackel are questioning whether Ford should step down.

"You're looking at a CEO that with an attempt to try and to get a millage passed that now all of the sudden is being questioned with the finances when you stop and think about that that's a huge loss of public trust,” said Hackel.

Hackel is referring to the massive regional transit plan that failed on the ballot in November.

"There's a loss of trust and I think the correct thing to do would probably to make that decision himself and step aside and allow someone else to take on the reins,” said Hackel.

The RTA Board of Directors will meet on March 8.  They are expected to address what’s next for CEO Michael Ford.