Friday, August 21, 2015

PSTA CEO Brad Miller's Evaluation by PSTA Board Member Darden Rice

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Coauthor of: So You Want Blog

 Each year PSTA Board Members are asked to complete a formal evaluation of the PSTA CEO Brad Miller. 

This Series gives the detailed evaluation by each PSTA Board Member.

Comment Text is taken from Documents obtained from formal Public Records Request with NO edits.

Instructions (To Board Members)
Please take a few minutes to provide a numerical score in the following 10 general performance areas. You may also provide narrative comments as needed. A narrative providing some further explanation of each performance area is provided to help guide you in developing your overall score.

Reviewer:  Darden Rice Councilmember City of St. Petersburg             
1. Organizational Leadership
Rating for this category is a scale of 1 (worse) to 5 (best).   SCORE:  5

COMMENTS:  Mr. Miller has excelled at developing a strong governance model by empowering a stronger and expanded Executive Committee, strengthened existing PSTA Board Committees in assisting the full board, fully participated in collaborative & transportation policy and prioirity setting, and looked at all ways to support community development and transportation objectives. Mr. Miller is positioning PSTA well in terms of making difficult financial decisions in the coming years ( due in part to the operatational budget crunch to replace nearly half our fleet of buses in the coming few years.) We continue to measure the benefits strong outsomces associated with his oversight to hire a new Finance Director, Debbie Leouse, and strengthening the role of the TRAC committee. Those turned out to be prudent decisions that continue to make PSTA stronger. Would like to see higher profile roles developed for other staff, such as COO James Bradford.

2. Future Opportunities & Investments
Rating for this category is a scale of 1 (worse) to 5 (best).   SCORE:  5

COMMENTS:  Mr. Miller is very aware of federal funding opportunities, whether it is New Starts grant possibilities or working on a strategic approach with the Pinellas MPO to explore STP flex funds for buses. He has also proposed such flexible ideas as stretching out the life of buses by a couple of years by increasing maintenance budgets, ‘smoothin out the bump’ in critical bus replacements so the agency isn’t hit all at once, and taking strategic steps to get more competitive for state and federal transportation funds. Our FY 2016 busget reflects a savings and ability to invest in moving forward based on a keen understanding our risks, possibilities, maximizing efficiencies, and eliminating services that do not provide a satidfactory return on investment.

3. Policy Development & Strategy
Rating for this category is a scale of 1 (worse) to 5 (best).   SCORE:   5

COMMENTS:  I think the adoption of the ‘Path Forward’ strategy reflects a keen skill and strong ability of the CEO to affect change in policy direction. It should be noted that all ‘change management’ is inherently difficult, and PSTA additionally faces added stressors of financial encumbrances due to bus replacement costs that had previsouly been taken care of by a federal earmark process that no longer exists. Mr. Miller always displays a strong grasp of national trends and is connected professionally to a national network of his peers, of which he is a respected leader in APTA. Discussiona and policy directives get worked out thouroughly on the committee level. In addition to the committee level deliberations, Brad meets with board members one one one as needed prior to General Board meeting discussions. An area to focus improvement is to improve communication with regional elected officials to make sure we are all on the same page with our understandings of transportation issues and funding dilemmas. The Legislative Committee has been focusing on improving these relationships more robustly and this is also a goal addressed in our ‘Strong Governance Model’ of the Path Forward framework.

4. Policy Implementation
Rating for this category is a scale of 1 (worse) to 5 (best).   SCORE:   4.5

COMMENTS: I gave Brad a “4” in this category last year. The score is bumped up this year because I think we have made some improvements in light of past admitted mistakes and missteps (DHS grant). For example, Brad has sent out a weekly email that updates the board on PSTA news and in those communications is candid about challenges or upcomings issues that may receive negative light in the press. Again, I think the ‘Path Forward’ process indicates a strong path forward in the postGreenlight transition and has provided a helpful guidepost in making valuebased and strategic policy and financial decisions in the coming year and beyond.

5. Working Relationship with the PSTA Board (As a Governing Body)
Rating for this category on a scale of 1 (worse) to 5 (best).   SCORE:   5

COMMENTS:  The year began with a critically important workshop that set in motion the ‘Path Forward’ mission. That set the tone for what has been a positive and collaborative partnership with the board to set a new direction for PSTA. The final document reflects input and comments from the entire board, and reflects the diversity of opinion that exists on the board. New members feel comfortable asking questions and speaking up; our experienced board members are effective at contributing their perspective when needed.

6. Working Relationship with Individual PSTA Board Members
Rating for this category is a scale of 1 (worse) to 5 (best).   SCORE:    5

COMMENTS:  Brad is quick to follow up and provide info as requested. He provides candid assessments and insight. I consider my working relationship with him to be positive, effective, and productive.

7. Financial Resource Management
Rating for this category is a scale of 1 (worse) to 5 (best).   SCORE:   5+

COMMENTS:  Our FY 2016 budget speaks for itself. I have addressed this issue in responses to other survey questions in this document.

8. Human Resource Management
Rating for this category on a scale of 1 (worse) to 5 (best).   SCORE:   4

COMMENTS: I have dropped Brad’s score from a 5 last year to a 4 this year. The overall competence and professionalism of Brad’s team is admirable. PSTA has some real stars on the field: COO James Bradford, CFO Debbie Leouse, CDO Cassandra Borchers, and I could name several more who simply stand out as top notch. I’d like to see them empowered to do even more, which I mean a s a compliment to Brad Miller, who has put together a great team. I would like to see some improvements on the operations side of PSTA. Although Mr. Miller is not responsible for the turmoil dealing with the TBWATU, it seems a lot of that conflict bubbles up to the attention of the board that brings into question how to better handle conflict management issues.

9. Community Leadership & Relations
Rating for this category is a scale of 1 (worse) to 5 (best).   SCORE:  5

COMMENTS:  I wholeheartedly give Brad a 5 in this area. I think the next level for Brad to take his success up to is to empower more of his higher level staff to take on organizational, advocacy, and speaking roles when deemed prudent.

10. Project Management
Rating for this category is a scale of 1 (worse) to 5 (best).   SCORE:  5

COMMENTS: I think the next few months – especially the next legislative session ‐‐will put our ‘Path Forward’ to the test. I think it will also require a strong level of engagement from board leadership to meet our agreedupon goals. I have great hopes this will happen. There will always be a sense that there “are a lot of moving parts” when it comes to transit agency work. It is a challenging board assignment because the mission is important and there is a lot of individual and committee work to do. Balancing all of it is a challenge, but it is a challenge that requires an active and engaged board to work with the CEO to address. Mr. Miller leads PSTA through these considerable challenges with the utmost and unquestionable integrity and thoughtfulness.

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