MARTA CEO leaves for Goodwill - CBS46 News

MARTA CEO leaves for Goodwill

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Source: MARTA Source: MARTA

Keith Parker, a man thought to be responsible for MARTA's turnaround, is leaving the company to take a job as the head of Goodwill North Georgia.

Tom Taylor, the Chairman of the House and Senate MARTA Oversight Committee or MARTOC says the company was on life support before Parker arrived. Taylor says the company was hemorrhaging money.

"They were going negative every day," says Taylor. "He built up a quarter-billion dollar reserve fund now." Taylor says he remembers the ridership rules that Parker enforced once coming to MARTA. "Loud talking, littering, eating, profanity. Taking up 3 seats, it was against the code of conduct but rarely enforced," said Taylor.

Parker came to MARTA in 2012. Taylor says Parker received as much as a 50 percent pay raise in the past five years, bringing his salary to over $545,000 annually. 

"His total compensation was $545,142. Is that what we're going to have to pay to get another Keith Parker?" asked Taylor. "I don't know."

A serious problem does remain with MARTA, internet hack attacks and insider theft. A senior director of operations used fake invoices to steal a half a million dollars from the company. This all comes as a steady decline in ridership persists. It's down seven percent in the last two years.

But transit services across the country are feeling this pinch. It's a national problem, blamed on cheap gas prices and ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

The MARTA board says Legal Counsel Liz O'Neill will be in charge until a permanent replacement is named.

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