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Location: Middleburg (Jacksonville), Florida, United States

Published in Trains magazine, Railfan & Railroad, Passenger Train Journal

Friday, September 29, 2006

USDOT IG to examine Amtrak’s directors;

questions whether board operates properly

USDOT’s Inspector General will be taking a close look at some of the passenger carrier’s board of directors practices over the next few weeks.

David Tornquist, Assistant Inspector General for Competition and Economic Analysis, told Amtrak Chairman David Laney and the board in a letter dated September 26, that in March 2006, the majority members and the Democratic members of the Amtrak Working Group issued separate reports summarizing their findings.

The Democratic members included among the recommendations in its report, “Our investigation indicates that some of the deficiencies cited in the GAO report represent a failure of Amtrak’s Board of Directors. Accordingly, we intend to request that the DOT IG conduct an investigation of whether the Board of Directors is adequately carrying out its legal and fiduciary responsibilities.”

Tornquist said the work will be carried out in Washington. The program director is Mitchell Behm, and Debra Mayer is the project manager.

On October 25, 2005, House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Don Young asked Rep. Richard Baker to “lead a working group to evaluate information from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Amtrak Inspector General, and the USDOT Inspector General regarding Amtrak’s management and performance,” the letter stated.

The request was prompted, in part, “by issues raised in the October 2005 GAO report, Amtrak Management: Systemic Problems Require Actions to Improve Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Accountability.

In March 2006, the working group members issued separate reports summarizing their findings.

So, the USDOT IG “plans to conduct a review” of how Amtrak’s directors carry out their responsibilities.

“In addition, we plan to review the board’s expenses from Fiscal Year 2002 to the present as requested. “

The objectives are to determine “The rules, procedures and authorities under which the board operates, whether the board has followed established processes and procedures, whether the board has set long-term goals and performance objectives for Amtrak, whether the processes and procedures that the board follows are sufficient for ensuring oversight of, and requiring accountability from, Amtrak management, and whether the board members’ expenses comply with corporate guidelines and whether those guidelines are sufficient to ensure prudent use of corporate resources.”

The results of the review “will aid in identifying whether potential reforms to improve the board’s performance are needed.”


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