Politics & Government

Pierce Transit CEO gets favorable review

Pierce Transit’s board gave Chief Executive Officer Lynne Griffith a mostly favorable performance review Monday.

Board Chairwoman and Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland said Griffith.was rated overall as meeting or exceeding expectations.She praised Griffith for responding to the board’s direction to develop innovative programs, citing the Gig Harbor trolley as an example. Griffith also led the agency through the loss of sales tax revenues.

“We want to continue to strive for financial stability,” Strickland said.

The review period covered the final 81/2 months of 2013, a sometimes rocky road for Griffith and the agency.

In May, Pierce Transit’s union for drivers, mechanics and other workers voted no confidence in Griffith.

In June, the board approved a cut that would have slashed jobs and service hours.

In July, the board rescinded that 31-percent service reduction because the agency’s sales tax revenues increased beyond projections.

Transit hours are still dramatically lower than the 617,000 hours that were in effect in 2008 before voters twice rejected tax increases.

In November, Griffith put Pierce Transit Public Safety Chief Rod Baker on paid administrative leave while an unspecified outside investigation goes on.

Griffith, 64, has led the agency since 2006. Pierce Transit has 866 budgeted positions and operates 427,717 annual service hours.

Last April, the Pierce Transit board approved a new three-year contract with Griffith.

With this review, Griffith’s annual salary will remain at $169,097 — the same amount since 2008. She will continue to receive 25 days of annual personal leave, in addition to three weeks of vacation.

In rankings by seven board members obtained through a public records request, Griffith received positive comments across a number of categories.

Puyallup City Council member Steve Vermillion said service improvements — including the trolley and circulator routes in Fife and Puyallup — “have been what I was hoping for from the beginning so that small communities would have better access to internal service.”

Fife City Councilman Glenn Hull gave the most negative review, ranking Griffith below standard in five of 10 categories.

Griffith said overall, she was very pleased with the board’s evaluation.

“It’s been an interesting few months and a challenging few years to gain the support of the board,” Griffith said. “It’s a positive thing.”