Audit blasts UTA for big salaries, underfunded service

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SALT LAKE CITY -- An audit released by the Utah Legislative Auditor-General criticizes the Utah Transit Authority for some of its business practices, including executives' big salaries and underfunded service.

In one instance, auditors said UTA “pre-paid” $10 million for a parking garage in Draper, even though it was against the transit authority’s policies. There were no plans for the garage at the time, and UTA ended contracting a new company to do the project more than two years later. UTA is still trying to recoup $1.7 million dollars from the transaction.

“Our concern was it was inappropriate, it's very unusual, we saw no justification for the $10 million to be given out at that point of time, nor could they provide that sort of justification,” said Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City.

Davis told UTA that they may be over stepping their bounds regarding transit oriented developments, and they need to get back to basics.

“You're the mover of people from point A to point B and we got to get to that point in this state,” Davis said.

Another concern is that UTA executives are compensated considerably more than are executives at UDOT. The audit also claimed that the agency did not report the proper compensation amounts to the state’s transparency website.

UTA CEO Michael Allegra makes 82 percent more in total compensation than UDOT’S executive director and 15 percent more than the executive director of the Salt Lake City Department of Airports.

“The board sets our salaries, they are benchmarked against other comparable agencies, the audits recommended that we include total compensation and compare them to other transit agencies and government entities,” Allegra said.

Then there is the issue of underfunded projects.

This includes rail line upkeep, which will need $2.9 billion dollars in expenses by 2033. According to the audit, UTA has not accounted for this money in their long-term plan and the auditors say that will affect other areas of transportation.

“Bus service has suffered due to financial constraints, UTA does not have the financial ability to add more bus service,” said Kade Minchey, audit supervisor.

Read the audit here:

In a response to the audit, UTA said it has implemented changes as recommended by the Auditor-General.

"Changes include significantly reducing incentives, particularly for executives and top managers. Additionally, the board approved a policy requiring any award greater than $8,000 be reviewed and approved by the board in a public meeting," the agency said in a prepared response.

16 comments

  • The Man

    Fox13 is finally catching onto their broken comment boards. So, I have to turn to new stories. SCREW THE LDS!!!

  • The TRUTH

    Shocking. A pyramid scheme in Utah.
    LOL
    As if the mormon church is not the most successful and widespread pyramid scheme/cult the modern world has ever known.
    The people at the top of every state agency and organization come from the same long line of pyramid-scheme mormons – they’ve been indoctrinated for generations to keep for themselves and s c r e w everyone else below and to believe it’s gawd’s will.
    Gross.
    No wonder the handicapped and poor in this state can barely find a bus to get them to work while the people at the top enjoy huge bonuses and salaries.
    Following the Enron business model, I guess.

  • Jon

    Big salaries are not as concerning to me as UTA management appearing to hinder the progress of the audit. In one passage the audit reads, “We had difficulty accessing information and obtaining clear answers to many questions during the course of the audit. In fact, during the course of our fieldwork we notified UTA management that
    we believed we were not being provided all information and explanation. Still, it was not until after we completed our fieldwork and provided UTA with our initial conclusions based on available information and explanation, that UTA brought forth a great deal of additional information.” It concerns me when any public agency tries to hinder or obstruct an audit. That should be the headline of this story.

  • Julie Dew Price

    “Additionally, the board approved a policy requiring any award greater than $8,000 be reviewed and approved by the board in a public meeting,” the agency said.” So the board voted to require they vote on something. Something really wrong with that. Sure make them vote on whether to get a raise or not. I’ve been to those board meetings and can’t imagine any one voting against any agenda presented.

  • John

    I just want to get downtown and not pay a lot. I don’t care about salaries or affiliations and anyone’s personal agendas when I buy my ticket to go downtown for Sunday brunch. Just knocking a couple bucks off is all I ask so its cheaper to drive and pay for parking. Can we fix that please. Pretty simple request. Have a nice day.

  • 8ch

    Bob – still looks like you have issues about things you can’t control. Worry about yourself, dude. Do you need a hug?

Comments are closed.