2012-10-04 / Front Page

Transit to share director

Stapleton to split services between Delta, Schoolcraft

John Stapleton John Stapleton MANISTIQUE – Schoolcraft County Public Transit will be splitting its director with the Delta Area Transit Authority. The move to share services was approved during a recent meeting of the Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners.

John Stapleton, current director of Schoolcraft County Public Transit, will now split his time 50/50 between Schoolcraft and Delta counties. According to Chairperson Al Grimm, the move was supported by various parties – including Sen. Tom Casperson. Grimm read a letter of support from Casperson during the meeting.

“It is my opinion that the Delta Area Transit Authority and Schoolcraft County Public Transportation have an opportunity to create another success story of good stewardship through shared resources and I encourage them to take advantage of that opportunity,” Casperson wrote.

Chuck Lindstrom, project manager at the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Office of Passenger Transportation, also submitted letter of support.

As part of the shared service agreement, Stapleton will evenly split his time between the two agencies. In return, he will receive a salary of $50,000 per year, benefit package, and the use of a DATA administration vehicle for transportation. Delta County will reimburse Schoolcraft County on a quarterly basis for 50 percent of Stapleton’s salary and benefit package. Stapleton’s contract with DATA will last through

Sept. 30, 2013. a “We’ve been working for quite some time with John, and we were in an awful mess prior to his coming,” said DATA board member Gordon Hermes. “We think it’s a fine move for us, a fine move for you people, and it’s a win-win all the way around.”

Two other members of the DATA board, along with the Schoolcraft County Transit Board, also expressed their support of the shared service agreement.

According to Stapleton, he will likely split his time by serving two days in one location and three in the other, and visa versa. In the case of special reviews or other extra responsibilities, he noted he would serve longer in one location, but make that time up to the other agency later.

“One place can’t consume all of your time, obviously, or it’s not going to work very well,” he said. “The key component here is both of these operations have to be able to run smoothly and well or it’s never going to work.”

Commissioners discussed the urgency of finding someone to serve as second-in-command in Stapleton’s absence.

“MDOT certainly wants to see that, and that is going to become something that we’re going to have to do with regard to this,” said Commissioner Dan LaFoille.

Stapleton noted he plans to complete this task within the first quarter of the next fiscal year – beginning October.

“That’s a weak point we’ve had for years … not having anybody else in the know-how or in a position that had any ability to make a decision in my absence,” he said. “We need to fix that.”

He added a current employee would most likely be the best option for the county, and that three have shown interest in the position.

“Realistically, our best benefit is to promote someone from within, if at all possible,” he said. “I think we have some strong people there that are capable and willing.”

The board unanimously approved the shared services agreement between Schoolcraft County Transit and DATA.

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