A meeting of the Metro-North Railroad Commuter Council (MNRCC) was convened at 4:30 pm on January 21, 2010 in the 8th floor conference room, MTA Headquarters, 347 Madison Avenue, New York City.
The following members were present:
• James F. Blair
• Gerard Kopera
• David Buchwald
• Randy Glucksman
The following members were absent:
• Richard Cataggio
• Rhonda Herman
• Francis T. Corcoran
• Douglas McKean
In addition, the following persons were present:
• William Henderson -PCAC Executive Director
• Jan Wells -PCAC Associate Director
Approval of Agenda and Minutes
The agenda for the January 21, 2010 meeting and the minutes of the November 12, 2009 meeting were approved.
The Chair’s Report is attached to these minutes. Bill Henderson announced that he had received word shortly before the meeting that Neil Zuckerman of Putnam County had been appointed to the Council by the Governor.
Jim Blair reported on the December meeting of the Metro-North Committee. He said MNR has developed a package of service cuts, but that they will not be implemented until after the public hearings, which will be held in March. Mr. Blair noted that Metro-North did not have to make draconian cuts to meet budget targets.
Randy Glucksman noted that one disappointment in the package of proposed service cuts was the elimination of two weekday peak Pascack Valley trains, which will have a significant effect on service to the line’s core market. He distributed copies of a letter from the Supervisor of the Town of Clarkston protesting cuts to Pascack Valley service.
Mr. Blair said that Jay Walder went to Orange, Rockland and Putnam Counties to meet with local residents and officials. In his discussions, he firmly asserted that the MTA needed the revenue generated by the funding package passed by the State Legislature, but said that he would address the gap between outlying counties’ support of the MTA and the value of the service that is received.
Mr. Blair said that the MTA will hold hearings on the proposed service cuts in White Plains on March 1 and in Suffern on March 4.
David Buchwald said that the MTA must be sure that they reach out to all local officials to inform them of the service cuts and public hearings. He suggested that staff check with Metro-North to see if he had been added to their outreach list as a test of whether new elected officials are being added to the list.
Mr. Blair reported that the MNR finances have taken a hit and the departure of Gary Dellaverson and Gary Lanigan will be a great loss to the MTA.
Mr. Henderson said that legislation to extend the sunset of provisions creating non-voting seats on the MTA Board is working its way through the State Legislature and that, while the Legislature is unpredictable, the legislation is expected to be approved early in the year.
The members discussed the plans for an outreach campaign. Mr. Henderson said he has been in touch with staff in Mamaroneck to arrange for a presentation to the Mamaroneck Town Council at one of the Council work sessions. He also said there will now be few vacancies for members that can be filled from Westchester County.
Mr. Kopera said that his work commitments have reached a point where he cannot devote time to the Council, and as a result he has concluded that he must resign from the Council.
Mr. Buchwald said he is happy to preside at meetings in his capacity as Vice Chair of the MNRCC but does not want to assume the Chair. He noted that the Council has to start thinking about succession. He noted that it is heartening the Council has added new members from some of the counties outside of Westchester who bring new life to the Council. Jim Blair said that the presence of members from three of the four outlying counties may be leverage in getting Dutchess County to recommend a candidate to be appointed to the Council.
The members also briefly discussed the MTA Board seat that is currently held by Jim Blair. Mr. Blair has stated that he does not wish to be appointed to another six year term. The members discussed that the potential for a local official to place a member on the MNRCC who could then become a member of the MTA Board could be a powerful incentive for local officials to find candidates for the MNRCC to be recommended to the Governor.
The Council unanimously approved a resolution of appreciation for Gerard Kopera’s service as an MNRCC member and Chair. Mr. Henderson said that Richard Cataggio, who was absent, has also approved the resolution by proxy vote. A copy of the resolution is on file in the PCAC office. The Council presented a framed copy of the resolution to Mr. Kopera.
No New Business was discussed.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:00 pm.
PCAC Research Associate