Palm Tran Connection hires new director

hockman
Hockman

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.

In May, Forbes, who had been Palm Tran director since November, demoted Jones and accepted the resignation of  Palm Tran deputy director, and former director, Chuck Cohen.

And in June, he contracted with a private firm to provide an interim director for the troubled subsidiary and reassigned two supervisors of the Connection’s scheduling operation. In late March, a Palm Beach County Inspector General report had said the Connection was doctoring on-time statistics.

To read more, go later to mypalmbeachpost.com.

Palm Tran shakeup following consultant’s report on manipulation of Connection stats

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.

(Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)
(Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)

Clinton Forbes’ announcement about Director Ron Jones and former director Chuck Cohen is one of several changes he outlined in a memo that accompanied a 20-page report by a consultant he hired following a blistering March 31 report by the Palm Beach County Office of Inspector General.

» RELATED: Palm Tran safety policy a pain for motorized-bike commuter

(Richard Graulich/Post)
(Richard Graulich/Post)

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.

Carey
Carey

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.

Cohen
Cohen

Poor on-time performance cost Cohen, Palm Tran executive director for nearly a decade, a demotion in January 2014, and later led to a major overhaul of Palm Tran Connection, which for years, has struggled with complaints about late service, rude drivers and unclean buses.

Jones
Jones

To learn more, go later to my palmbeachpost.com.

Read memo and full consultant’s report here

FROM THE BEGINNING: Click to read The Post’s complete coverage of Palm Tran Connection’s problems.

Inspector General: Palm Tran consultant has “substantiated” critical report

010615 palm tran 3

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.

Clinton Forbes, who’s been Palm Tran’s director since November. later hired David Rishel, head of a suburban Philadelphia transit-based consulting firm.

Forbes (Richard Graulich/staff)

Forbes (Richard Graulich/staff)

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.”

Carey

Carey

But Forbes said late Thursday that he spoke with Rishel, who told him that he has not spoken to Carey.