Is Your RTD Board Member Slacking?

Officials got credit for attending if they called in to a meeting, which is common.
Officials got credit for attending if they called in to a meeting, which is common.

Denver’s Regional Transportation District is pretty unusual in one respect: Unlike most other transit agencies, RTD’s Board of Directors is elected. Voters in 15 districts decide who represents them on the board and makes decisions about service, fares, and even development (or lack thereof) around rail stations.

It turns out that some of those reps take their elected duties a lot more seriously than others.

I recently reviewed meeting minutes from March 2017 through February of this year to see who puts in the time to represent their constituents, and there’s more variation that you might expect. You can see which district you live in on this map.

District B Director Barbara Deadwyler, who is also the Board’s second vice chair, missed 23 meetings, for an absentee rate of about 31 percent. Yet she represents important neighborhoods for transit like Five Points, Curtis Park, Park Hill, Montbello, and Stapleton.

District C Director Bonnie “Ernest” Archuleta missed 15 meetings over the same period, or about a quarter. He also represents central, urban areas where transit is key and needs to improve, including Lower Downtown, River North, and a host of neighborhoods on the north and west sides.

The tally accounts for board meetings and committee meetings, where formal votes are often taken, as well as “study sessions” where directors learn about topics with policy implications. (Multiple committees often meet on one night, and not all members have the same committee duties.) Officials get credit for attending if they call in, which is common.

Most directors, several in less transit-dependent parts of the region, managed to miss significantly fewer meetings. Directors Jeff Walker (District D) and Larry Hoy (District J) each missed just one.

The RTD Board flies under the radar compared to other local political offices — you won’t see reporters at every meeting like the City Council. It’s also more of a part-time gig, with about 60 meetings per year and annual compensation of $12,000.

But transit policy should have a higher profile. Just like any political office, the more people pay attention and hold their RTD reps accountable, the harder their reps will have to work for them.

By the way, 16 candidates are running in November for six seats in districts B, C, J, K, L, and O [PDF].

  • Sarah

    Thanks for this. Deadwyler’s absences are concerning, but not surprising. She also doesn’t respond to constituents when we contact her.

  • SammyDEEEE

    Deadwyler is also term limited. Jamie Perkins for RTD District B!

  • Frank Silady Locantore

    I contacted Barbara Deadwyler numerous times for a particular issue. She was horrible. Didn’t respond until she finally did and she had no idea how to deal with an RTD issue. Thankfully, she’s gone. Thankfully, I’ll be voting for Jamie Perkins who understands transit for the district and how to work with the community.

  • jmfay

    Francone just got replaced so your info is outdated!

  • Devin Quince

    While Lubow appears to show up, she is just an RTD shill and cannot be depended on.

  • Commentperson47372649

    Thanks! It is hard to stay posted on these officials. I’ll likely be voting against Archuleta in the fall.

  • Tina Francone

    Mr. Sachs, you misrepresent my record.

    I was sworn in as RTD Director, representing District N, on January 06, 2015 and served in that role until thru January 30, 2018, when I was appointed as Jefferson County Commissioner.

    On January 05, 2016, I was elected to the Executive Committee as Treasurer and on January 10, 2017, I was elected to the Executive Committee as 1st Vice Chairman. (Election to the Executive Committee requires attendance at an additional meeting a month).

    From January 06, 2015 thru January 30, 2018, there were 147 regular, special and Executive Committee Meetings. This does not include meetings for other committees to which I was appointed – the General Manager Search Committee, the General Manager Oversight and Performance Management Committee, DRCOG, etc. I was absent 18 times; 6 of them were due to illness/hospitalization, 2 were deaths in my immediate family.

    I take my responsibility to the taxpayers seriously and it has been my honor and pleasure to serve as RTD Director. Your coarse attempt to suggest otherwise reflects your shoddy research – frankly, I expect better from StreetsBlog.

    • David Sachs

      I included executive committees and other meetings available in the public record over the last year. Are you disagreeing with anything in this article on factual grounds? “Shoddy” is a strong word if not.

    • Tina Francone

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