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Metro sidesteps D.C. Council questions on train breakdowns, employee perks

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Local,Transportation,Liz Essley,Metro,Muriel Bowser,Metro and Traffic

Metro missed a deadline to answer key oversight questions from the D.C. Council, despite being given an extra month to respond.

A D.C. Council committee in March asked Metro to list its employees who received cellphones and iPads or who were assigned vehicles or took trips on Metro's dime. It also asked for the number of train breakdowns and the delays they caused. Metro did not supply the information, and a D.C. Council staffer said they gave Metro another month, until Monday, to answer.

But Metro didn't answer Monday.

D.C. Councilwoman Muriel Bowser, who heads the council committee that oversees Metro and sits on the Metro board of directors, didn't ask about the missing documents at a hearing Monday, even though staff said before the meeting that she would.

Bowser refused to comment.

For some of the council's questions, Metro provided partial information. For example, when asked for travel expenses by employees, Metro gave the lump sum it paid for employee travel in the last two fiscal years, but not a list of employees and their travel expenses --preventing outsiders from knowing whether some employees took more expensive trips than others.

For other questions, Metro sidestepped the issue altogether. When asked which employees had cellphones or iPads, Metro provided a copy of its policy on telecommunications devices instead of supplying the list.

"We have responded in writing to more than 80 questions asked by the DC Oversight Committee and participated in two hearings," Metro spokesman Philip Stewart said in an email. "While there may be a handful of items that may require additional detail, research or follow up, the overwhelming majority of questions have been answered in detail."

Metro General Manager Richard Sarles said he didn't know why the questions hadn't been answered.

Monday's hearing focused on Metro's budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Bowser has already voted yes on the budget during a previous Metro meeting.

lessley@washingtonexaminer.com

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