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Metro’s board doesn’t meet frequently enough or spend enough time and energy on planning, and they can’t even measure their own performance, a new government audit found.

The Government Accountability Office study of Metro’s governance practices suggests the transit agency’s board needs to conduct more frequent self-assessments and improve its strategic planning efforts to ensure a safe system for riders. The report, commissioned by Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, found that Metro’s board sometimes “focuses on management’s day-to-day responsibilities rather than higher level board responsibilities such as oversight and strategic planning.” In addition, the report concluded that Metro’s board “lacks a key mechanism for regular, ongoing measurement of its performance.”

Infrequent meetings of the Metro board’s Audit and Investigations subcommittee may have also affected safety by impairing the board’s ability “to use information about areas in need of improvement regarding the operations and finances of the agency.”

Metro board chair Catherine Hudgins responded to the report by pointing out the new efforts the group has made to improve its oversight practices, including the creation of standing committees on governance and safety and security. The Metro board has also drafted permanent bylaws and rules of procedure with input from the public, according to Hudgins.

“We deeply appreciate the continued leadership of Senator Mikulski who requested this review, and our congressional delegation whose support is vital to the safety, reliability, and financial stability of Metro,” said Hudgins.

Read the report here:

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Photo by o palsson via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution 2.0