DENVER -- RTD is standing by the hiring of Michael Ford as its new Chief Operating Officer. Ford, who previously held transportation jobs in Michigan, arrives in Colorado amid past controversy involving his previous position at the Regional Transit Authority of Southeastern Michigan.
While in Michigan, Ford faced questions about reimbursements ranging from mileage to cell phones. Ford eventually paid back about $19,000 after it was revealed his being paid back a higher rate.
While travel records revealed expensive hotel rooms, nothing went over-budget, according to reporting by Denver7’s sister station, WXYZ in Detroit.
RTD provided Denver7 three letters (1, 2, 3) from his bosses in Michigan defending him. The letters pointed to loose travel policies and political fallout from a failed vote on a transit plan.
"Many of us had known Mr. Ford previously. Kind of a small world in the transportation agency," said RTD spokesperson Scott Reed.
RTD leaders say Ford was identified as a candidate, along with others, during a national search. The organization feels the issues of the past have no merit.
"Mr. Ford was very forthcoming about all of this during the interview process and had alerted us to it, just as we were starting the recruitment," Reed said. "There was nothing that was hidden, that was unexpected."
RTD is standing by Ford, citing his experience in other major cities. It believes he is well equipped to handle transit and safety issues.
“We feel very confident that we have done our homework on this and that Mr. Ford is the best candidate for this position, and that he will do well here at RTD."