BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Capital Area Transit System Board of Directors has voted to give CEO Bob Mirabito a big boost in his paycheck.
The board voted to raise his salary 19 percent, despite opposition from the CATS Employee Union and Metro Councilwoman Denise Marcelle.
"There's some stability now at CATS that I don't think hasn't been for a while," Mirabito.
Mirabito has goals of a Baton Rouge transit with buses more on time, trolleys serving neighborhoods and a light rail at least from LSU to Downtown. The board's unanimous vote of confidence indicates they think he's the right guy to make that happen.
Some terms of Mirabito's new three-year contract are $175,000 a year, benefits and bonuses based on performance.
Mirabito's $28,000 pay hike will make his salary $15,000 more than the Chief of Police Carl Dabadie's and almost $30,000 more than Mayor Kip Holden's.
Marcelle had urged the board to reject the raise.
"If he's making more than the mayor more than the chief of police, he really needs to show me some reason that he's getting compensated in that manner, and I just don't see it," said Marcelle.
The Amalgamated Transit Union agreed with Marcelle. In a statement released by Naomi "Katie" Guy, the president of Baton Rouge's union, she said "to further compensate him for his inadequacies is insane."
There is also a debate about promises made and the actual operating budget.
"The actual tax dollars were passed based on some promises, and those were that the people's wait times would go down significantly. That promise has not been delivered," said Marcelle.
Mirabito says $30 million was supposed to be his budget and that is what expectations are based on that amount, but that is not what he has to work with.
"When I walked in the door and we started to get the tax collections, the budget in 2014 was $24 million," said Mirabito. "$3 million of it when to parish transit, so we're left with $21 million to do the fixed bus route service."