Future CATS board members will have to meet specific qualificati - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Future CATS board members will have to meet specific qualifications

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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

The East Baton Rouge Metro Council voted to require specific requirements for future Capital Area Transit System board members, but deferred the item that would require all current CATS board member to resign.

"The house at CATS is on fire now. We need to put it out," said a resident at the Metro Council meeting.

"I don't believe it's on fire. They were on fire a few years ago when they were running out of money," said council woman Denise Marcelle.

It was a fiery meeting when it came to the CATS.

Councilman Buddy Amoroso is asking all seven of the current CATS board members to resign, something that didn't sit well with council woman Donna Collins-Lewis, who sits on the CATS board.

"I felt insulted that the entire board was asked to resign," said Collins-Lewis. "I'm not resigning from the board because of unethical practices of someone else. I've not done anything wrong. If this council determines and votes a resolution to ask every board member to resign, I'm still not going to resign. I have not heard a public outcry from any riders asking for the resignation of board members. It has been people in leadership positions that want whoever on this board asking people on this board to resign."

But that idea will have to wait 60 days as it was deferred.

Future CATS board members will now have to meet specific qualifications such as experience and a minimum education. Again, something that didn't sit well with some.

"To sit here and say we looking for qualified people with B. A. degrees, we might want to start with ourselves up here if we going to ask for all these professional degrees," said Marcelle.

"I think we putting the horse before the cart," said council woman Chauna Banks-Daniel.

CATS has faced several struggles the past few months from alleged mismanagement of dollars, allegations of a now former board member using CATS money for personal use and recently, the board president Isiaah Marshall resigning. They're all things that have raised some eyebrows.

"I think this is a propaganda that everyone has lost faith in CATS. I haven't heard that. I talk to riders everyday. They're ready to move forward so I don't know where all that's coming from. To me, it's like putting a fear factor so you can do what you want to do," said Banks-Daniel.

"I have not heard a public outcry from any riders asking for the resignation of board members. It has been people in leadership positions that want whoever on this board asking people on this board to resign," said Collins-Lewis.

Many speakers referred to the lost trust with CATS, including the group "Together Baton Rouge," who helped pass the controversial tax last year that gave CATS millions of dollars.

"We are setting a dangerous precedent if we start letting persons outside this governing body tell us what to do, dictate, author and say this is how the game should be played because we know what's best," said Banks-Daniel.

The new requirements for future CATS members go into effect immediately. Currently, there are two openings: one from the Montrell McCaleb stepping down and the other from former board president Isiaah Marshall resigning.

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