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Whistleblower complaint led to transit firing of Nedra Woodyatt

By   /   January 20, 2010  /   Comments

An anonymous letter written by a bus operator to City Manager Alfred Lott prompted an investigation that resulted in the dismissal of Albany Transit Director Nedra Woodyatt, public records show.

The letter, titled “Albany Transit Fleecing the Citizens of Albany,” detailed mismanagement, waste and safety concerns that were documented by Assistant City Manager Wes Smith, records show.

Smiths says that many of the letter-writer’s complaints were not substantiated in his investigation.

“Mr. city manager, we fault you. This is on your watch …” the letter-writer stated. “I took it to myself to inform you of this problem. We’ll be watching to see if you investigate this complaint or we’ll turn this over to the news media for reckless conduct for taking from the taxpayers of Albany.”

After Lott received the November letter and amid a cloud of secrecy, Lott fired Woodyatt and her second-in-command as the city continued to try to push a scandal-ridden $9 million bus station project through the federal bureaucracy. Woodyatt was the project director for the proposed “multi-modal transportation center,” which is costing taxpayers millions of additional dollars to accommodate passenger rail service despite there being no projections for such a service here. Transportation planner David Hamilton, who was scolded by Lott for cooperating with the local Citizens Transportation Committee during a recent meeting, is now serving as the project manager.

Lott refuses to answer questions about Woodyatt’s dismissal or the bus station project. MV Transportation, a California firm that helps operate transportation systems in more than 120 locations in 24 states, provides the city’s transit manager and transit management manager on contract.

Following are excerpts of the letter to Lott:

“The route supervisors are clocking in and out employees whey they’re late and note at work. They have part-time employees who should only be working 20 hours per week, but are working 40 just sitting around.

“They fail to report accidents to risk management.”

“Some employees are driving recklessly, going off the route, causing damage to the buses, and the route supervisor fails to do anything about it.

“They have too many employees on the clock doing nothing, stealing from the citizens of Albany.”

“(A supervisor) covers for some employees’ accidents and tickets.”

“With all the part-time employees, why are there so many full-time employees getting overtime.”

The acting supervisor drives the city vehicle in the Putney area of the county to his house.

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