Transportation Director Danielle Matland Retires.....Whew! Finally! DRILL HERE!!! DRILL NOW!!! ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Transportation Director Danielle Matland Retires.....Whew! Finally! DRILL HERE!!! DRILL NOW!!!

This just in, and with a twist, which I swear I am not making up. Ahh, the power of bloggers! I wrote an email to City PIO Phillip McGowan asking him a few questions:

Please provide answers to the following or ask the mayor when I can interview him about these concerns:

Is Danielle Matland still in the employ of the city. If so, why and for how much longer?

When will the transportation department be re-organized in accordance with the Idea team's report?

Is the position of transportation director being advertised? if not, when will it be open?
I wrote this at 11:06 am. At 11:08 I received this news release:
Annapolis, MD (04-08-10) - Mayor Joshua J. Cohen has announced that Transportation Director Danielle Matland retired April 1. She stepped down after 28 years with the City, including the past decade as director in which she oversaw an expansion of bus service into Anne Arundel County.

Ms. Matland has been on leave since late December, and Kwaku Agyemang-Duah, a senior transportation planner, remains the acting director.
Wow!   What service!  I ask the question and get the reply a few minutes later. Cool...Of course, Matland has been receiving her $130k + per year salary since December--without showing up for work or doing much, which is not so different from what she had been doing anyhow for many years, according to some observers.

Wow! The power of blogging. I sent an email to the mayor's office asking about when she will be retired and a few minutes later,  the news release goes out!  Fortuitous? Purely coincidental? You be the judge.

The next big question is when is the mayor going to start a job search for her replacement? By the way, also included in the release was the following:
In 1997, about 500,000 passengers rode city buses, and annual ridership for fiscal year 2008 was 1,331,000 trips.
As some readers will recall, yours truly served as marketing specialist for that department starting in 1998 and ridership doubled within a few years. It would be nice if that department issued annual reports to the public on performance as used to occur when I served as marketing specialist, but it does not. Every time I prepared the annual report on my own initiative and without being asked to do it, I would have to wait weeks for the director to sign off so I could disseminate it. Oh,  did I mention that we never had staff meetings? Or that when I suggested we have staff planning meetings, develop a mission plan, vision statement and customer bill of rights that Matland told me I was "crazy"?

This is what happens when there is no oversight, when city council ignores and abrogates its responsibility. This is why I urge Mayor Cohen to get this department reorganized as per the recommendations of his idea team, on which I served.

By the way, keep in mind that Matland, though she may have had the title of department director, was really just the general manager of a small urban bus system, a position that normally pays a lot less--a whole lot less than her $130k+ per year salary....during which time, she was often away on long vacations.  For example, look at what they pay in these cities for a similar job:

BIRMINGHAM, AL between $105 and $115k (much larger than Annapolis)
ELK GROVE, CA $73,133 - $102,386
BROWARD COUNTY, FL TRANSIT DIVISION DIRECTOR $95,283 to $156,263 (a much a larger system than Annapolis)

According to which conducts annual surveys in transit, the mean salary for a GM, CEO or executive director in a transportation department with fewer than 199 employees (we have about 50-60 as I recall) was $105,097 in 2009.  If you look under the category of transportation director/administrator, which I believe is more appropriate, the salary mean drops to $73,031.  So congratulations to Danielle Matland, who I would imagine has received full pay since December without having to work, now gets a full pension -- and was vastly overpaid to begin with.


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Will Small said...

Thanks for all your hard and ungratified work in trying to get our transit system working. I too hope the city gets moving on the transit system. You've analyzed this into the ground and if the city cops out with another study that will be another waste of money stalling on fixing this longstanding problem.

ajgasper said...


Do you know who originally put her into the position?


Paul Foer said...

Will Thanks....we shall stay tuned!!

Arnold--She originally started, I recall (I think...) with a CETA grant. Remember CETA? Comprehensive Employment and Training, which was under Carter I believe? She became assistant director under James Chase, back when there was a director and assistant director. Chase was forced to resign when Dean Johnson took the rein, and that all occurred as I was hired. He kept Matland as acting director and then as director, which was in 1998 or 1999. So there you have it--28 years of "service".

Anastasia said...

This blog is preceeded by mention that the City has to take out short-term loan to meet payroll.

Then there's this ... the head of a rather small department makes a very big salary and gets a pension for a long, long time!

Who pays the pension and how much is it?

Is it any wonder government costs exceed revenues!

Of course, we read daily of the greed of some investment and commercial bankers, too, whose competence is just as questionable, given the economic fix they got us in. But, at least, as far as I know, they don't get a pension as compensation-for-life.

William D said...


Have you considered approaching the Mayor to offer your expertise beyond the realm of the Idea Team?

It is obvious that you are a wealth of knowledge (at least in transportation)and would likely be an asset to the Transportation Department. You already have some experience working there, it might make a lot of sense to bring you in as a director or deputy director to get this mess straightened out.

Paul Foer said...

William D (Are you really William D or trying to corner me?)

I served on the mayor's Idea Team and continue to provide suggestions and ideas. I am not interested in serving as the director of transportation, have not applied, nor do I believe I am the best qualified. If there is to be a director of transit, that might be appealing, but it has not been discussed nor have I been approached, nor is it being considered as far as I know.

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