Service Announcements

Loading service announcements...

MetroWest Regional Transit Authority

Advisory Board

Meeting Minutes

Monday, March 10, 2014

The MetroWest Regional Transit Authority Advisory Board met on Monday, March 10, 2014 at 4:30 p.m., at 37 Waverly Street, Framingham, MA, at the call of Mr. Charles Hughes, Chair. In attendance were:Edward Carr/MWRTA Administrator, Charles Stevenson/Counsel, Jay Marsden/Holliston, Charles Hughes/Natick, Toni Wolf/Weston, Christina Winterfeldt/Sherborn, Maureen Dilg/Dover Council on Aging (non- voting member), Michelle Ciccolo/Hudson, Jason Smith/Framingham, Joe Nolan/Wayland, Ellen Gibbs/Wellesley, Brian Herr/Hopkinton, and Pam Loch of Hopkinton, representing the disabled community.

Also in attendance was; MWRTA Consultants John Glynn and Lynn Ahlgren. MWRTA staff Eva Willens, Linda Murtagh, Joy Glynn, Denise Murtagh, Carl Damigella, Sara White and Kevin Cotter. As well as Kathleen Vogel, First Transit and JoAnne Thompson, Thompson Transit.

At 4:40 pm the meeting began, with the intent of waiting for Jason Smith to arrive for a voting quorum.

Questions and Comments from the Audience:

The Board welcomed Michelle Ciccolo, as the new advisory board member for Hudson.

Administrator’s Report:

Mr. Carr stated that a vote was needed today on the Blandin Ave. project.

Mr. Carr gave an update to the board on the Blandin Ave. project:The MWRTA will receive $7.2M for the project of which $2.2 M will be used to purchase the building and pay off the note to SMOC. $5M will be used to execute the renovation contract, with approximately another $2M available for contingencies.

Mr. Carr met with the Town of Framingham and Keolis, the potential contractor for the commuter rail, who could be taking over Mass Bay Commuter Rail service. He stated that the RTA will start to play a significant role in the downtown Framingham station.MWRTA will move the current hub on Concord and Howard Street, over to the Banana Lot, which will allow closer proximity to the commuter rail and move the current hub out of the way of the street work, which will be ongoing for the next two years.

The MWRTA has been approved by the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Public Utilities, for an official/certified CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) training course at Blandin Ave. Currently; the closest courses to the MWRTA are in Brockton and Worcester.Senator Spilka is working to obtain grant money for CDL outreach and training.The RTA is being solicited by local school bus companies for training and obtaining their CDLs.

A request was made by Mr. Carr, to the Board, for permission to solicit proposals (RFP’s), to screen applicants for General Counsel. This will be to replace Charles Stevenson, who will retire as MWRTA counsel at the end of June, 2014.

Kevin Cotter, Marine Corp Viet Nam Veteran and retired Natick teacher of the year, having taught 38 years, will be representing the MWRTA at Framingham State University (FSU), via a Veteran’s Grant which Rep Dykema obtained.The goal is to work him into a liaison position between MWRTA and FSU.

Daniel Fitch, who is out on vacation this week, is developing the Streets Fixed Route Management System, which includes developing schedules/stable communications. He will also be upgrading the FSU system, with global positioning and video systems (GPS).

Reorganization of the Officers of the Board was discussed.

The Holliston and Milford / Route 6 ridership has dwindled. A review of the ridership will be completed by the June meeting. After assessing the results of the ridership data for Milford, it will be determined if service will continue. Previously, ridership paid for the cost of going into Milford. It needs to be determined whether that is still factual.

Questions from the Board:

Charlie Hughes asked if a vote was needed to direct the administrator to begin the screening process for Charlie Stevenson’s replacement and if a small committee is needed.

Mr. Carr replied, that he did not think screening was necessary. An RFP template from Mr. Stevenson is available. The RFP will be posted in Lawyer’s Weekly or in Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA). A small evaluation committee to review the RFPs would suffice.

Brian Herr asked if it would be possible to get a list of subcontractors (Filed Sub Bids) for Blandin Ave.Ms. Glynn will supply the list to Mr. Herr.

Comments from the Board:

The board thanked Mr. Stevenson for his 7+ years of service with the RTA. They stated that without his mentoring, the RTA would not have grown half way to where it is today.

Mr. Stevenson replied, it has been fun and a pleasure.It has been an honor to be a part of the Authority’s formation and I am humbled to have had the opportunity to represent the Authority.It has been especially rewarding to have worked with Ed, a great Administrator, who has brought this transit authority to places I don’t think many of us thought it could possibly go in such a short amount of time.I am not leaving for any reason other than to move to Vermont.

The Board at its last meeting established an Audit Committee in response to the A & F regulation that requires the creation of an audit committee and also specified some duties of the Audit Committee. One of the duties was to meet with and review the annual audit.That meeting occurred in September 2013. The committee consisted of Charlie Hughes, Joe Nolan and Jason Smith.The Primary function of the Audit Committee was to receive the audit, meet with the outside auditor and consider any recommendations for action from the outside auditor.

Mr. Hughes directed the board to their meeting packets, which included comments from the auditor.Mr. Hughes stated that he had met with the auditor and was asked to speak with Mr. Carr for responses to each item. The letter from the auditor makes suggestions and recommendations.

Charlie Stevenson stated that another responsibility of the Audit Committee is to approve the annual engagement of the independent outside auditor.Last year the MWRTA solicited proposals for an outside auditor for a 3-5 year period.Roland Lambalot was selected and appointed the auditor at that time.It was stated that the natural progression would be for Mr. Lambalot to present the authority with an engagement letter, to begin the audit of the current fiscal year. There would be no need to solicit again, but the audit committee would need to approve the reengagement of the annual engagement of the current auditor or decide to go elsewhere.Mr. Stevenson recommended there be an Audit Committee meeting scheduled between now and the next Advisory Board meeting for the purpose of approving the engagement of Roland Lambalot as the Auditor for FY14.

Mr. Carr indicated for the record, that Jason Smith had joined the meeting. A quorum was declared @ 5:05 pm.

New Business: – Contract approval / Blandin Ave. project.

Mr. Carr stated that five proposals/bids were received for the project.Funds to proceed are available to the MWRTA. Approval from the board was requested to move forward to negotiate with the lowest responsible bidder.

Mr. Stevenson indicated that bids were opened on Friday, March 7th. The Authority has not had an opportunity to complete the evaluation process of the 5 bidders, to determine which one is the lowest responsible and eligible bidder.According to Mr. Carr, the Authority has sufficient funds to award to any of the current lowest three bidders.The Architect for the project reported there appeared to be some potential issues with a few of the bids.One bid contained numbers that did not correspond to the written word. Another had a blank space where there should be a percentage for DBE participation. The bids will be reviewed to be sure they are responsive.DCAMM and reference checks will be done. After determining the lowest three responsive bids, the contract would then be awarded to the lowest bidder.A second board meeting would only be necessary if authorizing the award to the second lowest contractor would be required, based on issues with the first awardee.

Mr. Hughes only concern is if the lowest responsible bidder isn’t the one with the lowest number, we ought to know about it.Notify the Board immediately, if it is not the lowest number then we would decide if we have another meeting.

Toni Wolf/Weston, asked for an explanation of what Alternate 1 and Alternate 2 are?

The Administrator replied that Alternate 1 is the HVAC for the 2nd floor; Alternate 2 is the exterior of the building.

Discussion ensued regarding the Alternate 1 and 2 process. Mr. Hughes asked for clarification; The Board would vote to authorize the Administrator to award and execute a contract with the lowest bidder, if that bidder is determined to be responsible and eligible. If not, the Administrator would notify the board for authorization to proceed with the next lowest bidder.

Brian Herr stated that for the motion, that he is in the construction business and that this job came across his desk. He declined to bid on it for the fact that he is on the board. He put that in writing to the requesting client.

Mr. Hughes made the following motion:The Administrator is authorized to award and execute a contract for the Blandin Avenue Reconstruction Project to the lowest responsible and eligible bidder, determined in accordance with MGL CH 149 Section 44A-44H for bids received on March 7, 2014. If the bidder is not the lowest bidder, the Administrator would need to contact the board, prior to award.

Jason Smith:Second

Joe Nolan confirmed the MWRTA has the funds in hand and commended the MWRTA team for its excellent work.

The Chair requested confirmation of a quorum for purposes of the record.

Charlie Stevenson replied in the affirmative.

The Chair confirmed:No opposition – The vote was unanimous.

A motion from Jason Smith to approve the minutes as stated.

Second by Joe Nolan:No opposition – The vote was unanimous.

Motion to accept the Town of Hudson into the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority. Joe Nolan / Jay Marsden:Second – The vote was unanimous.

Reconsideration of the vote for the Blandin Ave. Project. Hudson would like to take part in the vote.

Motion: The Administrator is authorized to award and execute a contract for the Blandin Avenue Reconstruction Project to the lowest responsible and eligible bidder, determined in accordance with MGL CH 149 Section 44A-44H for bids received on March 7, 2014. If the bidder is not the lowest bidder, the Administrator would need to contact the board, prior to award.

Brian Herr / Second

Motion we previously read to approve the Administrator, to include Hudson.

Joe Nolan / Jason – Second.TheVote was unanimous.

The board agreed to continue the Audit Committee the way that it is currently.

Motion: To direct the Administrator to issue an RFP for General Counselto the MWRTA and post for the replacement of Mr. Stevenson.

Brian Herr/Jason Smith second – The vote was unanimous.

Charlie Hughes and Joe Nolan left the meeting ~ 5:10 pm.

Mr. Smith took over as Chair:

Framingham – A letter was sent indicating that Framingham is responsible for finding the union representative for the Board. There has not been a response as of yet from Mr. Halpin, Framingham Town Manager, as to who will be the designee.

Weston – Weston is responsible for a new member to the board from the disability community. Ms. Wolf has indicated Pam Loch’s term is up next month.

An Evaluation Committee for the Administrator needs to be assigned after July, to establish goals and objectives. Benchmarks as to what has been accomplished will be discussed. The next Advisory Board meeting will be in June. A request will be sent via email, by Mr. Hughes to let anyone interested from the Board, to serve on the Evaluation Committee.

Pam Loch thanked everyone for the opportunity to serve on the Board.

Budget discussion ensued on proposed FY15 budget. The budget numbers may change due to State Contract Assistance (SCA).

The FY14 budget was over by $30,000, based on a total budget of $7.5M.

Sara White/Director of Marketing & Communications:Bus Advertising Update:FY2013 revenue was $18,000. Ms. White stated that there is a waiting list of potential customers for exterior bus advertising. Boston Strong ribbon logos will go on all buses, just in time for the Marathon. The Boston Hospital Shuttle (BHS) brochure has been printed with funds from advertising revenue.

Mr. Carr stated that per the board’s directive to increase marketing/outreach, this is being accomplished through the efforts of Sara White and Carl Damigella.


Carl Damigella /Brand Management, Outreach and Travel/Training Coordinator: With the assistance of Lynn Ahlgren, MWRTA Grants Consultant, the MWRTA has received a $106,000 New Freedoms training grant. The funds will be used in part for the Kennedy Center Travel/Training program.This will allow for travel training procedures of MWRTA staff in order to travel train elderly and disabled to ride on the Fixed Route service rather than depend on the MWRIDE or Demand Response services. This would lessen operating costs to the RTA.Outreach is ongoing to elderly and disabled persons in our member towns, including senior centers, schools and families in transition.

Other Business:

Mr. Smith asked for information on what transpired between a certain customer/Framingham resident and the MWRTA.

Eva Willens/Deputy Administrator, met with the customer Mr. Schneider, on November 16th, to discuss his concerns. He did not understand why there was a double fare via Route 1 to Woodland to get to Newton/Wellesley Hospital; He had difficulties paying the fare and indicated to Ms. Willens that the MWRTA was extorting from him. Ms. Willens offered him passes, but he did not want to hear anything. The administration participated in surveys last week on Route 1 buses and she was quite sure the gentleman came on board the bus during her ride. The customer had the same issues. She stated that the driver attempted to assist Mr. Schneider, with little success.

Kathleen Vogel/First Transit Manager, explained the fare requirement/structure indicating the gentleman was a frequent rider, refused to pay on more than one occasion, and continually became very animated and angry.Driver called in to dispatch, the passenger refused to pay and the Framingham Police were called.

Jason Smith indicated this was handled properly and from the rider’s public safety standpoint, it was the right thing to do.Mr. Schneider sent an email to the Framingham Board of Selectmen; therefore, Mr. Smith will need to respond back to Mr. Schneider.

The next meeting was scheduled for June 9, 2014.

A motion to adjourn was made by Brian Herr and seconded by Jay Marsden.

The motion passed unanimously.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:15pm


The undersigned being the duly qualified clerk of the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority Advisory Board, acknowledges that the foregoing minutes accurately reflect the actions taken at a legally convened meeting of the Advisory Board held on March 10, 2014.

Joe Nolan, Clerk

Contact Us

MetroWest Regional Transit Authority
15 Blandin Ave.
Framingham, MA 01702
Office Hours:
Monday to Friday
8:00am to 4:00pm

P: 508-935-2222

Dial a Ride: 508-820-4650

F: 508-935-2225

TTY: 508-935-2242

We're on Twitter!

Quick Links

Bus Tracker