Auditor - doesn't know how @cahsra can defend them
Committee chair asks why.
Elaine Howle says she can't explain it - maybe would be good question for @CaHSRA .
Decisions reflected careful consideration on how to maximize federal $$ which handling risk.
ARRA funds had a lot of strings [Our note: the Authority actually got to tell @USDOTFRA what the strings should be]
The Audit report questions decision to start construction without owning required land/ agreements with freight railroads.
Richards: we knew the risks and some were realized.
The bond $$ required matching funds - and at that time, there were no other funding sources.
[Our note: there were actually other uses for ARRA $$]
We stand by our decision.
Does beg the question - where the @CaHSRA chair? Assume this means CEO Brian Kelly is still out on medical leave.
Beall- I want to see - where can I see it?
Hedges - it is all documented in our PMP[program mgmt plan] and our org charts.
Beall -is this what the auditor wanted?
Richards - maybe
Richards - reorg completed. It is underway [completed <> underway FYI]
Hedges - 38 vacancies, throughout organization.
Hedges - not sure, mostly admin
@Jimbealljr - who is in charge? Is it hard to hire people [note: he seems to want to get higher pay levels]
Richards - all state govt has trouble hiring, not sure why
No other questions [REALLY???]
[note; in 2009 we were concerned about choosing route without knowing the rules that would be in place - calhsr.com/wp-content/upl…
Richards; We have not documented the reasons for things - embarrassed.
Richards [stumped for a moment] "That's a great question" [which means no]
Says he is impressed by staff, happy with new people -[did not answer questino]
Breakdown not in people trying to do right thing, but in documentation
Richards - we are.
Frazier - so then when were you informed that your oversight sucks?
Richards - we are moving there. In a year, we will be there. All the things the auditor said, we are in the process of implementing.
Frazier - are the salary limits that Beall keeps harping on about a problem/where did this come from?
Richards - Always worried about senior mgmt. Hard time getting candidates for the amount they are being paid.
Frazier - Brian Kelly got hired as CEO for $387k. Why can't you pay engineers enough?
Richards - non-appointees may be on lower pay schedule (but not sure)
Frazier - I have begged to partner with you for 3 1/2 years. Nothing. This meeting is first time I"ve met you.
Frazier - there has been
"Wall of secrecy" "This has to stop"
Patterson - Please explain the $1.6 billion of potential additional cost orders
Also, we added extension north of Fresno [does not note that a more expensive segment from Shafter to Fresno got dropped]
Plan B - what is it? Plan A is failing.
Are you worried about the Fed audit?
Have you been interviewed?
Richards - something, something
Patterson - Are you going to meet timeline [assume this means new 2022 deadline in amended fed agreements]?
THere will be a plan b by next year!
Richards - we are just trying to get the 120 miles in the Central Valley done
Patterson - What is point of 119 miles?
Richards - Likely use for the 119 miles is @Amtrak
Patterson - You have been saying that for years but you know there are connection issues[?]
Richards -"Very disappointing" [This guy isn't a politician but he is pretty good at this game]
- so not passing?
Richards - we are still in class
Richards - we are working hard to fix this, I'm a member of the audit committee and we were ones who ordered 2015 audits.
Richards -but, but, but "compassion for people who proceeded us on the board" "a challenge is not having all the information" [very politic way of saying earlier estimates were BS]
[more editiorial comment - there have been a lot of games played to create that impression - real cost now MUCH higher]
"You are from Fresno. How awesome is this/"
When I first moved to Fresno, concerned because city had low self-esteem.
Fresno had lack of opportunities. This is an opportunity.
This hearing helps regain confidence but still.. the big plan is hiring more state employees.
Asks Joe Hedges about Seattle tunnel project - aren't there models for public projects to oversee consultants / manage projects properly?
Hedges (jumps in) - there is some confusion here... I know there are more..