Director of Transit “retires”; city continues to works its way through interim plan that will feed into a Master Transit Plan.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  June 21, 2012   During a city Community Services committee meeting last night, Councillor Paul Sharman casually mentioned an email from the city manager, in which the retirement of  Director of Transit Donna Shepherd was announced. No date for the retirement was given.

Community Services was discussing some additional data on transit fare options Sharman felt was needed.  After some back and forth debate on the question as to whether or not transit staff had time to do the work the committee decided they did indeed have the time.

Councillor Sharman and Director of Transit Donna Shepherd working through a budget document

Ms Shepherd has been with the city for some time, and has been at transit since at least 1991 where she came up through the ranks to become Director.  “She was always very pleasant to work with” commented former Mayor Walter Mulkewich.  Shepherd also spent a short period of time with Human Resources.

There was no other detail available at the Wednesday evening meeting.

Councillor Sharman and Ms Shepherd did not work particularly well together.  Sharman has very strong views on transit which are considerably different than those of Bfast, a Burlington based transit advocacy group that  wants to see ridership increased and routes extended.

Sharman and Shepherd never did have a close working relationship. Did this contribute to her retirement?

The Director of Transit was paid $173,820 according to the last “sunshine list”, a government report that sets out all civil servants that are paid more than $100,00

Shepherd struggled with the delivery of the details on the plan when it was introduced at committee and has had some difficulty as well with public meetings.

Public transit  in Burlington is going through very significant changes and it will be some time before there is a clear direction.  The retirement of the Director suggests that new leadership was needed.

Does the retirement signify a level of dissatisfaction with Shepherd in the office of the city manager or has Ms Shepherd decided that this would be a good time to retire?

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