Gloria Boyce will be the permanent general manager for Ben Franklin Transit.
Boyce is the agency’s former administrative services manager and has served as interim general manager since the former general manager departed a year ago.
The Ben Franklin Tranist Board voted 5-2 Wednesday to hire Boyce for the job, pending successful contract negotiations with its attorney, Pat Roach. The board chose Boyce after introducing her and three other finalists identified by its consultant to the community on Tuesday. It interviewed the candidates in private Wednesday and voted to extend the offer to Boyce after meeting in a closed-door session.
The decision was made in open session.
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Matt Watkins, mayor of Pasco and chairman of the transit board, said he would have preferred a unanimous vote, but said a solid majority agreed that Boyce was the candidate best able to articulate the transit’s organizational goals.
“I think it’s a combination of her skill set and her style and her temperament. She’s going to be a great leader,” he said.
The board’s nine voting members are elected officials from Benton and Franklin counties and from the cities of Kennewick, Richland, Pasco, West Richland, Prosser and Benton City.
I think it’s a combination of her skill set and her style and her temperament. She’s going to be a great leader.
Matt Watkins, chairman of transit board
Watkins, together with Benton County Commissioner Jerome Delvin, Franklin County Commissioner Bob Koch, Prosser City Councilman Steve Becken and and Benton City Councilwoman Lisa Stade, voted to hire Boyce.
West Richland Councilman Richard Bloom and Kennewick City Councilman John Trumbo opposed the move.
Boyce joined Ben Franklin in 2012 after serving in executive-level posts with the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas, and the Sacramento Regional Transit District in California. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Portland State University.
Salary terms are subject to negotiation.
The board hired Dennis Solensky, former transit director in Erie, Pa., in 2014 with a salary of $140,000. He left in May 2015 when the board declined to renew his contract.
It subsequently hired Prothman Co., an Issaquah-based executive search firm, to manage the search process. It advertised the post with a pay range of $84,221 to $144,591.
The general manager oversees an organization with a $36 million budget, 265 employees and 21 fixed routes serving Benton and Franklin counties. It also operates the Vanpool program and provides extended services to Walla Walla, Hermiston, Pendleton and Yakima.
It is funded with sales tax receipts, state and federal grants and fares. It reported 2.8 million riders in 2014.