The head of the financially-challenged Port Authority of Allegheny County is up for a similar post in Jacksonville. The Florida Times-Union reported today that PAT Chief Executive Office Steve Bland is one of three finalists to be executive director of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.
"My family and I love living in the Pittsburgh area, my wife s original hometown, and we have no immediate plans to leave," Bland said in a statement released by the Port Authority.
Bland went on to say that he did not initially apply for the position in Jacksonville. "I was approached to see if I would consider submitting my qualifications to the Board of Directors as a potential finalist for consideration. I ultimately agreed to do so. I have not visited Jacksonville nor had any further conversations with members of their Board or community leadership since that time.”
Bland has been the CEO of the Port Authority since 2006, coming to Pittsburgh from Albany, New York. He succeeded Paul Skoutelas as head of PAT.
"I am very proud of our team at Port Authority and pleased with the tremendous strides we ve made here. By the same token, I by no means consider my job finished. We have a lot yet to do to make Port Authority the organization that the Pittsburgh and Allegheny County region needs and deserves," Bland s statement continued.
On August 21 the PAT board approved a concessions contract with Local 85 of the Amalgamated Transit Union whose members ratified the agreement two days earlier. The concessions package, whichg was a stipulation from the Corbett administration to receive additional state funding, averted a 35% service cut scheduled for September 4.
According to the Florida Times-Union the two other finalists for the Jacksonville job are from Charlotte, North Carolina and Riverside County, California.
"Any public transit agency that is in the process of selecting a Chief Executive Officer should do so in a highly transparent manner, even if it means that potential candidates are subject to public scrutiny," Bland said in his statement. "Transparency and accountability are principles I ve tried to live by during my tenure here at Port Authority, and it would be hypocritical of me to reject them now simply because that transparency in another city might make me personally uncomfortable."
The outgoing executive director of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority is paid $287,000 a year. Bland s contract with PAT expires June 30, 2014 and pays him $185,000 annually.