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CEO says HART is working to address 2020 pay inequities that hurt drivers, maintenance workers

HART’s CEO said the agency is working to address 2020 pay inequities for union employees like maintenance workers and bus, paratransit, and streetcar operators.
Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

TAMPA, Fla. — During a Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Finance and Audit Committee meeting Monday morning, CEO Adelee Le Grand said the agency is working to address 2020 pay inequities for union employees like maintenance workers and bus, paratransit, and streetcar operators reported by 10 Investigates last week. 

During the coronavirus pandemic, HART gave top administrators big raises – tens of thousands of dollars, in some cases.

In the meantime, frontline workers like bus operators got significantly smaller one-time essential worker payments.

Prompted by a question from HART Board Secretary and Temple Terrace City Councilman Gil Schisler during Monday’s committee meeting, Le Grand said HART is “tak[ing] in… the media energy” on the pay inequities.

“This is important. We understand the issue. It is a priority. And the team is working diligently,” said Le Grand. “Folks have been working over the weekend to really be able to give constant updates on where we are, what the numbers look like.”

Le Grand said HART’s Board can expect a detailed report on efforts to address the pay inequities at the next full board meeting, which is scheduled for April 5.

Le Grand became CEO in January, a couple of months after these raises happened.

Through a public records request, 10 Investigates got data on all the non-union HART employees – basically, the office and administrative staff – who got raises last year.

We found the top administrators who were already making the most money got the biggest raises.

Twenty-three people got raises of $10,000 or more.

Four of them got raises of $20,000 or more.

Director of Financial Operations Joan Brown got a 32 percent pay increase worth $31,793.98.

Director of Risk and Legal Services Carolyn House Stewart, who also served as the interim CEO for most of last year, got a 21 percent pay increase worth nearly $24,940.94.

What did union workers like drivers and maintenance employees get? A one-time $1,500 essential worker bonus – all while their overtime hours got cut because HART reduced service last year.

“We need more. We need more, just as well as you. $1,500 for people that have a family of four – some people are taking care of their parents. Some people are taking care of their grandkids,” HART bus operator Yolanda Lancaster told 10 Investigates.

The administrative staff raises, which were all given in October 2020, happened because of a Compensation Study that compared the salaries that HART pays to what other transit authorities pay.

That compensation study only looked at administrative staff salaries.

RELATED: Transit bosses get big raises while drivers struggle

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