Palm Tran Connection, Palm Beach County’s call-ahead bus service for the elderly, disabled and ill, has a new director.
Chad Hockman, whose official title will be Senior Manager of Paratransit, starts Thursday. He’ll be formally introduced at Thursday afternoon’s meeting of the Palm Tran Service Board, the agency’s advisory group.
Hockman will oversee a staff of 75 and a $30 million budget, Palm Tran Executive Director Clinton B. Forbes said Wednesday in a release.
The Ohio State University graduate worked for the college, then spent 13 years at a private paratransit provider that worked in six Midwestern and southern States.
Hockman will earn $107,000. His predecessor, Ron Jones, had earned $115,000.
The head of Palm Tran has demoted the Palm Tran Connection’s director, who admitted to investigators that his agency manipulated software to boost on-time stats, and has accepted the resignation of the man who once ran all of Palm Tran.
The 103-page March 31 report outlined a systematic doctoring of software. It says managers altered, or directed dispatchers to alter, between 21,000 and 46,000 reports.
Forbes wrote in a memo to county leadership, released along with the report late Thursday, that while “some of the conclusions varied” from the Inspector General, it was “complementary to their investigation and uncovered several management issues which resulted in significant problems” at the Connection, which provides call-ahead bus service for the elderly, disabled and ill.
Forbes said he’ll hire a consultant to run the Connection as interim, work on the recommendations of both reports, and help search for a new director.
He also said he’s created an office of Performance Management at Palm Tran “to ensure the integrity and accuracy” of the agency’s data. He also said he’s brought the Connection’s operations directly under Palm Tran and has created a new Chief Operating Officer position from the former Deputy Director of Fixed Route, the post to which Cohen was demoted.
An independent consultant hired by Palm Tran has “substantiated” a Palm Beach County Inspector General report detailing manipulation of on-time performance of Palm Tran Connection,, Inspector General John A. Carey told his agency’s executive committee Thursday at its semi-annual meeting.
Carey’s 103-page March 31 report outlined what it called a systematic doctoring of software at the Palm Tran subsidiary that provides call-ahead bus service for the elderly, disabled and ill. It says managers altered, or directed dispatchers to alter, between 21,000 and 46,000 reports.
Carey told The Palm Beach Post after Thursday’s meeting that he met recently with Rishel and the consultant “was not completed with his work but my discussions with him seemed to substantiate the information that we found.”
But Forbes said late Thursday that he spoke with Rishel, who told him that he has not spoken to Carey.