tv Public Affairs Events CSPAN December 2, 2016 3:00pm-6:35pm EST
witnesses today and thank you for your indulgence, mr. chairman. mr. mica: thank you, mr. connolly. mr. moe me does. mr. meadows: before i begin, i want to recognize not only the outstanding service that you state ofided the great florida and the congress as a hole but as a personal friendship to me, as a guy who had no idea what went on behind the scenes, you took a young guy from north carolina and invested in me in a way that, quite frankly, i'll never forget. you and pat are dear friends, it's been a difficult year. i want to let you know i sincerely appreciate your friendship, your leadership, your investment, your love and
your compassion for the people that you serve. if they knew what i knew, that every day that you were worried about serving them more than serving yourself, i think that they would rise up with a stature and i have to say i have a personal stetchue in my heart of a man that i appreciate so much, and you know in my district, we're the only district in the united states with a place called micahville, so every time i go - micaville so every time i go by i'll remember. mr. mica: thank you. mr. meadows: let me go and turn to the business of the day and let's get serious. i could tell you when i have my good friend, gerry connolly, as take s he is today, i
notice. we talked about this yesterday. we've talked about it multiple times. but what we have here is a systemic failure to address real problems that actually not only affect ridership and the financial stability, but the afety aspect of our inaction can causing great peril, love of life and quite frankly it can't be tolerated anymore. this is our fourth hearing. i'm tired of hearings. i'm tired of excuses. i'm tired of us going back and forth to look at these issues and say, well, if you just give us a little bit more time, we'll get it fixed. wmata is not a fine wine. it does not improve with time. what we must do is we must act today. the gentlewoman from virginia, mrs. comstock, she has called me a number of times saying we
got to address this particular issue over and over again and, yet, here we are with safetrack and learning that indeed as we start to embark on it -- and mr. wiedefeld, i want to say thank you. you're making tough choices. you know, i can tell you it's not good for your career because every time that you make a tough choice you have a critic that is out there that is wanting to suggest that you shouldn't be making that choice, but quite frankly, we needed your kind of leadership years ago. this is a systemic problem that has to be addressed and it has to be addressed now. now, it will require difficult decisions, and as my good friend, mr. connolly, just pointed out, some of the decisions that are being contemplated by the board, mr. evans, are troubling. you and i know that we've had some personal meetings, and i'm willing to invest the political capital in a way that does not play well back in north
carolina. but i'm willing to do that to fix this system once and for all. but what i'm not willing to do to ignore what has become a recurring theme. every time we get a new report, every time that we start to see something we start to find out things that we should have known months and years ago. you know, to hear the report of falsified records is just mind-blowing. it's just, you know, when you know that we're going to have this kind of detail to look at it, it's mind-blowing. and the deaths and injury of individuals fall at the responsibility of some of those very people who look the other way when we have issues that we have to address. and so we're going to fix this. we're going to fix this right away, and what we are going to make sure of is we look at the
track record -- as we look at the track record is we make tough decisions. i'm looking forward to hearing from you today. what we got here is we have everybody pointing fingers at everybody else. they're saying well, it was not my job. well, it's not my responsibility. or if we just had a little bit more money we could fix it. let me just tell you, we do have a money problem, but this is not the genesis of this problem is not money. -- but this is not -- the genesis of this problem is not money. the genesis of this problem is the culture that we allowed to purvey and exist for a long time. wmata has become the butt of jokes. but let me tell you, it's not a joking matter. when you have people stuck on a track and they can't get a hold of an operator for 30 minutes and then you start to unload them onto and get off on a track where you have an active
possibility for electrocution, i mean, that's a real problem. and mr. wiedefeld, you and i talked on a couple of occasions and some of the other safety concerns that are out there, we need a little bit more transparency so i don't get surprised by reading about something in "the washington post." now, and by doing that i understand that you're trying to evaluate, but the other part of that is from an oversight standpoint, if we're going to make investments for federal dollars, we got to make sure there is a good plan in place to address these. and so today i'm looking forward to hearing from each one of you on how we can address that. and chairman hart, you're here back to hopefully give us some marching orders, but it's not good enough if it's in a report and it doesn't get acted upon. it's not good enough that we
fail to go and do what is necessary to do this. so as we start to look at this, mr. chairman, i appreciate your leadership on this area. what you are going to find are two bulldogs in a bipartisan way with mr. connolly and i. we're not going to let this go, and it's not because i ride it. it's because of the safety and health and welfare of the people of this greater washington, d.c. metro area that is at stake. we got to fix it. with that, mr. chairman, i'll yield back. mr. mica: well, thank you. and i'll hold the record open for five legislative days for any member who would like to submit a written statement and recognize mr. connolly for unanimous consent request. mr. connolly: thank you, mr. chairman. i ask unanimous consent that the written statements from democratic whip steny hoyer and senator-elect chris van hollen be entered in the record. mr. mica: without objection, so ordered. we'll now recognize our panel of witnesses.
and i'm pleased to welcome to this morning the honorable christopher hart, chairman of welbes. mr. matthew mr. paul wiedefeld, who is the general manager of the washington metropolitan transit authority. mr. jack evans, chairman of the washington metropolitan transit authority. and mr. raymond jackson, second ice president of the transit union local 689. like to welcome all of our witnesses. this is an investigation and oversight committee hearing and we do swear in all of our witnesses. so please rise. raise your right hand. do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are
about to give before this committee of congress is the whole truth and nothing but the truth? and the record will reflect that all witnesses have answered in the affirmative. well, not everybody has been here but we try to limit our testimony to five minutes. and if you have requests for additional information, data or testimony to be added to the record, just request that through the chair. and your entire statement will be made part of the record. so we'll start out this morning and recognize first, mr. hart, chairman of the ntsb. welcome back, sir, and you are recognized. mr. hart: thank you and good morning, chairman micah, chairman meadows, ranking member connelly and members of the two subcommittees. thank you for inviting me to
testify today on behalf of the ntsb. chairman mica, thank you for your years of service in congress and all that you have done to advance transportation safety. i'd like to join all the accolades that you have already received this morning. i also appreciate congress' continued attention to oversight of rail transit afety on wmata's metrorail system. the most wanted list which, again, included improving rail transit safety oversight. the ntsb investigations of rail transit accidents involving wmata continue to show that safety oversight of wmata is unreliable, which increases the risks of further accidents, injuries and loss of life and an effective, independent oversight system must be created to make sure that the highest level of safety is afforded to wmata's riders and employees. inadequate oversight of wmata's metrorail system is a persistent problem. the ntsb investigations of
wmata have found although safety plans were in place, they were not implement and overseen. wmata's unique oversight structure, most involve one jurisdiction and a few involve two, one of which takes oversight responsibility. wmata is the only transit property in the united states that involves three jurisdictions -- maryland, virginia and the district of columbia. moreover, these three jurisdictions collectively share oversight responsibility. this constitutes a challenge seen by no other rail transit system in the country. my written statement further details the history of rail transit oversight in general and wmata's oversight. despite efforts over the year to improve the rail oversight capabilities, the ntsb investigation of the smoking accident at lafant plaza revealed a transit system with no effective safety oversight.
as a result of this investigation, the ntsb issued urgent safety recommendations to the sick of transportation on september 30, 2015, to seek authority for the federal railroad administration to exercise safety oversight over wmata. unlike the federal transit administration, the federal railroad has robust, regulatory inspection and enforcement powers. allowing it to more quickly and more effectively address hazards and improve the overall safety of wmata's rail system. secretary of transportation instead passed the federal transit administration with direct oversight over the safety rail, the first oversight that the f.t.a. has exercised. they have limited staff to carry out the function, has no regulations which to have compliance and have no enalties in response to safety efficiencies. and they issued a short-term oversight role
combrocomboasting a deadline of february 29, 2017, for wmata's three jurisdictions to create an effective oversight agency. yet, in the face of that we have learned that virginia and maryland notified d.o.t. they will not meet the deadline. they are concerned that they will continue to encounter impediments. i want to stress again the difficulty on informing an oversight body to three jurisdictions. there is still no known date through which a body will be established. in the meantime we continue to investigate accidents that illustrate the need for immediate action. yesterday, the ntsb issued an intent brief on the east falls church derailment that occurred on july 29, 2016, already referred to in this hearing. the probable cause of the ccident was a wide track gauge of deteriorating wooden cross-ties due to the inadequate safety oversight. of particular concern is that ntsb investigators learned that the defective track conditions
that led to the east falls church derailment had been previously identified by wmata inspectors, yet, were not properly remediated. ntsb investigators were also provided additional documentation from wmata showing almost 17,000 open defects reported by wmata track workers, some going as far back as october, 2008, as already mentioned this morning and these are still waiting to be repaired. this accident further illustrates why immediate action is required to address safety issues at wmata. the ntsb remains scon vinced that with the history -- convinced that with the history of wmata, the federal railroad administration, their more established oversight program is vital to increasing passenger safety. thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i look forward to responding to your question. mr. mica: i recognize now the f.t.a. administer. welcome, sir, and you're ecognized. >> mr. chairman mica and
meadows, members of the committee, thank you for inviting me on talking about the wmata. chairman mica, thank you for your support together on sun rail over the years. safety remains the top responsibility for the f.t.a. and the u.s. department of transportation. f.t.a. has used the authority granted to us by congress to ensure safety improvements including metro well. mr. welbes: at this time significant work remains to bring metrorail in good repair, to improve the agency's financial outlook. years of underinvestment and deferred maintenance have contributed to metrorail's deterioration. and it's because of this deterioration that the daily passengers have not received the safe, reliable service they expect. recently, f.t.a. has observed important steps by wmata leadership prioritizing safety over revenue service, establishing and ensuring a
safety culture remains a critical task. wmata received over $450 million from f.t.a. in fiscal year 2016. f.t.a. has ensured these capital dollars are prioritized for improving safety, infrastructure and relyability. in some instances f.t.a. has used this to redirect federal funding to state of good repair priorities. during 2016, f.t.a. conducted investigations in the metrorail track integrity, stop signal overruns and vehicle security that led to specific corrective actions that wmata must complete. there are results from f.t.a.'s work. for the first time since 2012, all rail traffic controllers in wmata's rail operation control system has completed required annual certifications and approximately 2,000 employees who had expired roadway worker protection program certifications are not retrained and certified. in addition, while f.t.a. is not in charge of the day-to-day
work of safetrack, we guided the prioritization of safetrack work to locations where the most urgent repairs were required to reduce the risk of smoke and fire events. as a result, wmata corrected numerous instances of fire and life equipment in tunnels for evacuations. in addition to investigations, f.t.a. has conducted both announced and unannounced inspections and leaves accident investigations as warranted. f.t.a. conducted more than 00 inspections during the past year. we have -- 300 inspections during the past year. we've -- to date wmata has addressed 2/3 of those. during our inspections, f.t.a.'s identified operating practices and track conditions that led to immediate orders for slow zones, for track segment closures, protecting passengers and workers from unsafe conditions. and much more progress is required. if is important to note
secretary fox has made clear that f.t.a.'s role is temporary based on the federal statutory framework. our work will continue until virginia, maryland and the district of columbia establish a new state safety oversight agency, as required under federal law. the three jurisdictions are required to receive certification of a new state safety oversight program no later than february 9, 2017, and failure to meet this deadline could result in the withholding of up to $15 million in federal transit funding from 22 communities in maryland and virginia, outside of the washington, d.c., region. in conclusion, f.t.a. provides robust and direct safety over metrorail that is making a difference. based on our unique knowledge of transit agencies throughout the u.s., we are supporting and guiding the critical steps needed to improve wmata infrastructure, safety culture and operations while ensuring that the jurisdiction step forward and take responsibility -- jurisdictions step forward and take responsibility for
their role. the wmata bus and rail system is vital to our nation's capital region, the economy and the millions of people who rely on it, including me. there is more work ahead that must occur at wmata and make it safer and more reliable. i thank you for this opportunity to discuss f.t.a.'s oversight over the metrorail and i will take questions. mr. mica: i want to thank the wmata administer and welcome you back. thank you. d: i'm part of metro. i want to especially thank and recognize chairman mica who has been a -- has a long and distinguished career in helping infrastructure around the country. thank you for your service, sir. immediately upon joining metro last year we went to work to restore public confidence by improving safety and security and getting metro's financial house in order. as we worked to improve met
row, i have sought to and will continue to make clear to our customers, employees in the enedge tire region that safety comes before service. the safetrack program reflected that commitment. safetrack accelerates three years of work into one year. the plan expands maintenance, times, week nights, and has -- as i detailed in my written testimony, we have implemented a number of other programs to continue to improve customer and employee safety as well as the customer experience. to sustain this progress going forward, we have proposed a preventive maintenance program to the wmata board. we are requesting eight hours a week to do maintenance inspections on the system. the goal of the preventive maintenance program is to reduce service disruption due to track failures and opportunities to identify and repair track problems before they affect day-time rail service. metro ended fiscal year 2016 on
budget and received an on-time clean audit with no findings in the first time in three years. also, for the first year in recent history, metro's capital program invested $1 billion in the system, spending 85% of projected capital budget in fiscal year 2016 compared to spending approximately 65% in previous years. in the current fiscal year, we are on the path to spend nearly $1.2 billion, meeting our budget forecast. looking ahead, wmata must bridge a significant resource gap in order to achieve the balanced operating budget in fiscal year 2018. daily ridership on bus and rail has declined significantly in response to poor service quality and reliability as well as exalternative ternl factors. while at the same time calls have continued to increase. to address thundering gap, the proposed operating budget recommends a number of actions including the elimination of an additional 500 positions for a total of 1,000 positions in
fiscal year 2018, a reduction in rail service, increase fares and elimination of certain bus routes and increase subsidies at the local jurisdictional level. while we will continue to improve the overall safety and financial management of the system, we will be putting much greater emphasis on customer sfeerns, particularly with regards to reducing unscheduled delays due to poor track conditions, improving the reliability of our train fleet answered hansing the station environments in 2017. our goal for 2017 is the reduced delays caused by train car use -- train cars by 25%. and unplanned delays caused by track issues by 50%. finally, we will be establishing a customer-driven metrics which will measure our performance to inform our decisionmaking from 'cause more point of view. it will use as an employment tool for accountability. i will close by thanking congress for your continued support of metro through the federal funding, particularly the prea funding, which are
investigated in long-term improvements to the system. you have my full commitment that i will continue to work to get metro back to good. thank you for your time and attention. mr. mica: thank you. we'll now hear from chairman evans. you're recognized. mr. evans: thank you very much, mr. chairman. and good morning, chairman mica, chairman meadows, ranking member duckworth, ranking member connelly, members of the subcommittee and i, too, want to lend my voice to mr. chairman mica for your great service here to the city and to the country. thank you for that. i serve as a the principal director from washington, d.c. on the wmata board and for the last 10 months have been the chairman of the board of wmata. in addition to that, i am the ward 2 councilmember on the council of the district of columbia which operates the central business district, 11 surrounding neighborhoods, 12 metro stops. since 1999, i've chaired the council's committee on financial revenue. i appreciate the opportunity to
testify before the committee today and provide updates from my prior testimony in april 13, 2016, and since then wmata has taken significant steps to improve safety, reliability and fiscal management of the system. i do want to personally take this opportunity to thank congressman hoyer, congressman norton, congressman connelly, congressman meadows and congressman comstock who i had an opportunity to meet with personally on these matters. i want to really take this time for taking the time to sit down personally and meet with me. at the top of the organization, the majority of the board of directors has turned over in the past few years -- we now have 12 out of 16 new board members, including three new federal representatives who joined the board last spring. in my estimate -- and i served on the board back in the 1990's for 10 years this is the best qualified, most involved and most transparent board we have ever had at metro.
our general manager, paul wiedefeld, has been at the helm for a year and during that time he has put together a new senior leadership team and implemented new things to fix the rail system, right side the agency and better maintain the railcar fleet. mr. wiedefeld has provided a detailed information about these but to summarize again, wmata has made personnel changes, operational changes. so far this year he's hired a new chief operating officer, a new chief safety officer, both of whom have decades of experience in new york city and new general counsel and new chief of internal business operations to improve our procurement and administrative functions. he's also restructured the management team in march to break down some of the long-standing divisions within the agency. as pointed out, he fired 20 senior managers and has already eliminated over 500 positions in the agency. the agency has been undergoing the aggressive safetrack
project, which we have discussed here. however, it is important to keep in mind that safetrack will not solve all the agency's problems. it will make it safer, it will make it more reliable but in the words of -- may appreciate this. mr. winston churchill. not the end, it's not the beginning of the end. it's probably just the end of the beginning. and that is a true statement about where we are at metro's maintenance. wmata's financial condition can be summed up in three numbers. if you remember last time i was hear i told you the numbers. 300, 18 and 2.5. the numbers have changed a little bit but not much. first the 300 is 290. 290 is a projected $290 operating shortfall in the fiscal year 2018 budget, which we are dealing with now. runs from july 1 to june 30 of 2018. the gap includes $103 million from ridership and revenue loss. $87 billion from expense growth
related to safetrack and $100 million that the agency transferred from capital dollars to operating dollars to balance the budget last year. next, 18. 18 is still 18. it's the $18 billion in capital needs that the agency faces over the next 10 years. wmata has produced now a detailed capital needs inventory and reported back to the board in week that the cost of simply deferred maintenance and the state of good repair needs over the next 10 years is $17.4 billion. this is essentially a bare bones capital investment needed to get the system back to a baseline of operations. additionally, wmata should execute approximately $800 million of preventive maintenance measures over the next 10 years in order to improve its reliability. these capital needs do not include an estimated $7 billion in new needs related to compliance with ntsb and f.t.a.
directives and other issues, particularly like the rosalind bottle neck. that is the need for a new tunnel because of the construction in virginia to carry the trains into the district. it is a $3.5 billion item that is not included in any of our numbers. frankly, hasn't even been started the studying of how we are going to build this tunnel. finally, 2.8. 2.5 was the number i gave you before. in the months i've been here since april it's now 2.8. it is wmata's unfunded pension and other postemployment benefits' liability deficit. the wmata board has created a special pension committee to review our pension plans and try to figure out how to deal with this unfunded liability. $2.8 billion is a staggering amount for an organization of our size that is an unfunded liability. if we fail to address these pension obligations, wmata will find itself in exactly the same place the district of columbia was in in 1995.
we had $10 billion unfunded liability and almost brought the system down. the financial situation of wmata is dire. to fill the short-term operating budget gap, the jurisdictions, maryland, d.c. and virginia, need to increase their subsidy contributions collectively next year by $250 million. the alternatives, raising fares by 35%, closing lowridership stations during off-peak hours, continuing to use capital funds for our operating budget puts wmata at serious risk. again, on the capital side, without an increase from our current $1.1 billion annual capital funding resources to approximately 1.8 billion dollars, we will continue to have the system we have today. only further stressed by the hundreds of thousands of new riders we anticipate in the next decades. it's important to note here, as mr. wiedefeld mentioned, that in addition, more capital funding, wmata has improved its capability to utilize those funds. and in the past we were only spending about 65% of them.
mr. wiedefeld has got us to the point where we spend almost 100% of the money on capital that we have allocated for the year. we spent over $1 billion which is the highest ever. finally in conclusion, i appreciate the opportunity to discuss with you today the continued financial problems at wmata and the steps we have taken to put the agency on a better footing moving forward. it's easy to think of wmata as an autonomous entity, separate from the rest of the region but it's important to remember this. wmata is a $40 billion asset. a $40 billion asset in which all of us, federal government, d.c., maryland, virginia, each have a 25% interest. so with this $40 billion asset, what are we collectively going to do to take this asset and maintain it and make it better? so i believe with increased funding, steps our general manager is taking and with the collective will of all of us in the region, we can fix wmata. and it is as has been said
before, failure is not an option. so thank you for the opportunity to testify before you today and i look forward to any questions. mr. mica: thank you. and we'll hear from mr. raymond ackson, who's with the amalgamated transit union local. you're recognized. mr. jackson: thank you. good morning. mr. chairman, also want to thank you for your years of dedicated service. my name is raymond jackson and i'm part of a.t.u. local. i want to tell you the challenges that are facing the washington metropolitan transit authority in the near and distant future. when safetracks was introduced, local 689 was hopeful that it would not have the old practices at wmata. as things have progressed, we are now concerned that wmata's failure to consult with our union and with the experienced employees on the ground will be
a fatal law. had our input been solicited, we would have worked to find a better way of getting the work done without disrupting the lives of so many riders in this region. we all have family members who ride the system daily and most of us ride the system as well. so we know the frustrations with safetrack first hand. unfortunately, the reality of safetrack that it is a necessity at this point. if work had been done over the past 20 years, wmata would the nobody disrupting the lives of the people in this region in the way they have the past six months. at this point, safetrack is what riders of the region are left with after decades of mismanagement and neglect. we are also concerned that wmata continues relying on outside contractors to do the work that can be done by local 689 members has become a way for private companies with no investment in this system to ke boatloads of money at the
expense of the public and now riders. a lot of times members redo work done by these outside companies. it is frustrating for frontline employees and shows a lack of respect for the expertise that our members have. our locals deal with constant complaints of lack of personnel morale and other transit systems in this country and around the world is a culture of labor management cooperation where employees are treated with dignity on the job. their opinions are valid and they have a sense of ownership in the work that they do. that is not the wmata way. by and large, the invaluable source of knowledge that has represented our longtime employees is overlooked and sometimes even ignored by management. which leads me to wmata's budget proposal going into fiscal year 2018. local 689 is concerned that the
drastic service cuts and failure of increased by agencies where the -- with the response of safetrack will be the death of this system. the fact is people need safe, affordable and reliable transit service. the only way to bring back riders is to restore public confidence in metro. this will no doubt be a slow process. we have to provide -- we have to prove ourselves all over again to a public that has understandably had enough of metro's enormous problems. asking our riders to deal with even longer waits and stranding bus riders by eliminating 14 bus lines is not going to restore customer satisfaction. neither will increasing rail and metro bus fares. the proposed increase will put a hurt on some of our most transit-dependent riders who have no other way to get around. like most transit systems that cut routes, wmata's looking to those with lowridership, early
morning, late night and weekend service, people who work nontraditional hours will be disproportionately affected. aying off 1,000 employees once again shedding needed knowledge and putting a burden on the shell of a work force is not only ill-advised but also dangerous. yet, in is wmata's plan to dig out of this hole. through its slash and burn budget proposal, metro is using a self-inflicted track crisis to have a slash in services that won't be accepted in this region under normal circumstances. metro riders need to call them out, letting them know that we need more, not less, service. if we go along with this plan, people will forever abandon the system and it will crumble, causing an embarrassing mobility crisis in our nation's capital. the answer to metro's current budget hole and -- is a short-term cash infusion to get the system back on its feet.
if congress had not come into the aid of the american auto industry during the financial crisis seven years ago with the $80 billion bailout, these companies would have evaporated. now, america's transit system needs a smaller boost. we call on congress, maryland, d.c. and virginia to come through with the revenues necessary to see metro through these crisis and urge the agency to work hand in hand with us in the effort to prolong and develop a long-term dedicated funding stream from the federal government and the jurisdictions that will help improve the system and show we never face these dire circumstances ever again. transit riders and our members deserve nothing less. thank you. mr. mica: i thank all of the witnesses and we'll turn now to questions. started out commenting on the east falls church redailyment ntsb report and -- derailment
ntsb report and it quite said that inspectors fabricated track measurement and inspection reports. i got some of the inspection reports that were ignored. mr. wiedefeld, i know we just got the report yesterday. almost every time you come before me i say, well, steps need to be taken to hold people accountable. and you've done that. you got rid of some of the management people who are not effective and others. now, can this -- it seems like it's fairly simple to trace this back to the people from the report and who they interviewed and then the reports that were submitted, someone was responsible for ignoring those reports. can these people be held accountable? now, you know me, my recommendation is fire those that did not perform.
and have some results action based on what we've seen from this report? mr. wiedefeld: yes, mr. chairman. if i could just give you a bit of background. what the ntsb report is the information we gave them. that was part of an independent investigation that i had started immediately where i had outside people -- mr. mica: had those people -- you had the information and gave it to them. have you taken action already? mr. wiedefeld: yeah. what i did immediately is once i basically got informed about what we were hearing and what we were seeing, i started a criminal investigation. i hired two independent prosecutors. that investigation is still open. mr. mica: ok. mr. wiedefeld: i do not want to comment any further on that. mr. mica: again, holding people accountable. and there are consequences for inappropriate or negligent action and if it's worse than
that, they need to be out. i'm told that the -- i asked about an inspector general for the operation or someone -- i'm told that's a weak position. either to the performance of the current individual or the position, not having the authority to go in and take some action. what's your assessment? mr. wiedefeld: the o.i.g. answers to the board. they do not answer to me. mr. mica: plevens, do you want to comment on -- mr. evans, do you want to comment on this? again, if you go after these people, the i.g. is either weak in performance, what do you say? mr. evans: what i have tried to do, mr. chairman, is empower the i.g. to be more aggressive than it has been in the past.
mr. mica: do you set that authority up or is it set by a statute, federal statute? mr. evans: federal statute. it's in the compact. mr. mica: it is federal statute? i'm not going to be here but this is something you could all look at is strengthening the i.g. position so it's got some teeth. somebody's got to do something. i mean, they see something wrong and there has to be action taken. that's why we have the i.g. system and if it's weak. that would be something i recommend. either if you have don't have that authority, you need to get the information to the folks at can modify that and do it quickly. the status of ? r arcing connections mr. hart: thank you for the question. we just issued our final report on that recently. so the recommendations are
relatively recent. the recommendations little older were urgent recommendations about the connection of the power cables that they needed -- that we saw many of them were missing some of the sleeves to keep the stuff out. mr. mica: i went down, looked at that and saw the arc. mr. hart: and we're seeing good progress on the action. mr. mica: but where are we, do you know? maybe mr. wiedefeld can tell me. mr. wiedefeld: yes. it's the orange boots. we have basically replaced all those in the underground system which is where the key issue is and we have basically about 5% left on the above ground and that will be done with the remaining surges. when we get in the surge areas we'll replace those. mr. mica: ok. you're about 5%. the smoik, -- so the smoke, maybe the site i cited, you can go on and see if metro is on fire can be taken down pretty soon. ok. arcing and the connections.
communications, worked on that for god knows how long. where are we -- i understand the agreement has been executed with the cell companies, the installation has begun. three stand there's only stations -- areas between stations that are now operating, up and operating. mr. wiedefeld: and we will continue to do that. basically we're doing that as part of the shutdown. mr. mica: that's not good. what is the schedule? mr. wiedefeld: the red line, east side of red line will be done in 2017. mr. mica: how many total? it's 70 areas that aren't covered? and we have three under way and i'm told there are some that are in the process of being -- having the equipment installed, is that correct? mr. wiedefeld: yes, sir. mr. mica: but what's the balance for the balance? mr. wiedefeld: again, we will have the red line done in 2017.
we will have the blue and the orange line done -- mr. mica: give me the numbers. we are three. in another year -- mr. wiedefeld: i have give you an entire schedule. mr. mica: i'd like that in the roorned you can follow it up. again -- i'd like that in the record. you can follow it up. again, you didn't communicate. you held funds up. i did that to get your attention. we have to get the communication between the stations, for the safety of the passenger but also for the crew and everybody else to communicate. so that's one that's still undone. ok, back to hart. u had 16,800 recommendations or defects, rather. tell me the status of any of your recommendations that are undone or some of these defects that you cited.
mr. hart: thank you for the question. this goes to the fundamental premise that we said the federal railroad administration needs to be in clarge. the f.r.a. would go after that. -- charge. the f.r.a. would go after that. mr. mica: i'll go to f.t.a. in a second. to your knowledge, there's still a huge number of defects that have not been addressed. one. , the en two recommendations that you had -- i forget how many you had of that. very few have not been fixed. mr. hart: there are maintenance schedules that have not been done. they were supposed to inspect that twice a week and we found they were inspecting it monthly in the crossovers. their own internal requirements for wmata's own internal requirement for maintenance schedules were not being met. mr. mica: again, you had the list of recommendations for
improvements and then we have a larger list of defects that were identified. mr. wiedefeld, you want to respond? where are we? mr. wiedefeld: we do have a very large backlog. basically we're prioritizing with the most severe. that's why we're asking additional time to do maintenance. mr. mica: what percentage of your maintenance is contracted out work and some of these repairs? mr. wiedefeld: i don't know the exact percent. mr. mica: 20%, 10%? mr. wiedefeld: in that range. mr. mica: based on the images that were given to me, you have a lot of people out there but not a lot of them working and something has to be done there. i mean, mr. jackson ain't going to like this but -- and i think you still have some negotiations to go or something, but whatever you have to -- whatever steps to get somebody in there that can perform, if they can't do it they need to go.
if you are hiring contract people, they need to perform and have them take over some of that responsibility. ok. let me go finally to f.t.a. since september, i think mr. connolly and i both agree, f.t.a. has limited capability, it's been mostly a grant agency, i guess, to conduct the safety oversight. the recommendation from hart and ntsb was f.r.a. you want to speak to the deficits and capability that you have. and i understand some of it's been made up by partnering or cooperating with f.r.a. >> so a year ago when they were determined they were not capablely carrying out their
state responsibilities which is part of the federal statutory structure, f.t.a. had given the authority congress gave us and stepped in. mr. welbes: we've conducted four investigations. we looked at stop signal overrun, track. we issued reports on three of those. we issued requirements to wmata specific to those ex-investigations. we conducted over 300 inspections. we're on site about wmata six days out of seven within the past year. and as a result of our inspection work we issued 900 -- identified 900 defects for wmata to correct. they corrected about 2/3 of them to date. a number of instances, our inspections of track have resulted in taking track out of service or slow orders. and the oversight of metrorail exercised by f.t.a. is probably the most scrutiny u.s. d.t.o. has applied to about 20 miles of track. we have the authority to direct spending and in two instances
at least we directed wmata to move spending from one purpose to another but we directed spending in one case to $20 million toward the 7,000 series cars to replace the 1,000 series cars which are subject to an ntsb recommendation to remove them from service. we also redirected wmata funds toward corrective actions that f.t.a. identified a year ago. one of which includes replacing and updating a track management inventory system to get a handle on the defects that have been identified. we also have requested from congress in the past the authority to issue civil penalties, and we've also requested the authority three times from congress for the ability to -- for criminal penalties since 2008. we've asked for that in congress. mr. mica: and that has not been granted. let me turn to mr. connolly. mr. connolly: thank you, mr. chairman. putting in you're
oversight. you're sitting next to a man that says otherwise. he says you don't have the capability. i met with virginia authorities yesterday who are riding their part of the tristate oversight -- safety oversight legislation which by the way, mr. hart, is subject to legislative cycle. doesn't happen like that. our legislature meets in january. in the last two months we're a part-time legislature. and they tell me you don't cooperate with them. in fact when they seek information from f.t.a. on metro, they are told it's proprietary. they have been denied documents and access to information they think is material. and i'd like you to address mr. hart who says you don't have the capability. far from your testimony of robust oversight, you don't have the capability for much by way of safety oversight, frankly. and you've had to borrow from resources from the f.r.a. mr. welbes: mr. connolly, the
recommendation of the ntsb we take very seriously. a year ago when we recognized that the states were not performing their duty, we used the authority we have at u.s. d.o.t. so we requested authority from congress and the recommendation that mr. hart has put forward would require a member of congress to introduce a bill that would allow the u.s. d.o.t. secretary to assign wmata safety oversight to the f.r.a., and then f.r.a. would have to substitute its rules for wmata's rulebook. so the secretary cannot do that without congress taking action. mr. connolly: well, i will simply point out that the man sitting next to you, his agency offered a report issued yesterday that reiterated that it's the f.r.a. that ought to have jurisdiction here, not the f.t.a., because of capability issues. mr. welbes: so we have requested from congress additional resources and
authority to put into effect the new safety responsibility that congress gave to us in 2012, so we requested back in 2009 after the incident additional -- mr. connolly: will not just give it to the f.r.a. as the ntsb recommended originally? mr. welbes: so congress both in map-21 and the fast act assigned that responsibility to the federal transit administration and we are assertively exercising it right now. mr. connolly: does the secretary of transportation have the statutory authority, nonetheless, to act on the ntsb recommendation and give it to f.r.a.? mr. welbes: the secretary of transportation can act on the f.r.a. recommendation which is to ask congress for authority to reassign the role. mr. connolly: he chose not to do that. mr. welbes: a member of congress can introduce a bill to change it. mr. connolly: the secretary of transportation received a report from the ntsb that involved fatalities, and their recommendation very serious said f.r.a. needs to have this, not f.t.a., for lots of
reasons. not because you're not willing but because you're not capable. and safety comes first. and the secretary chose to do nothing about that other than give it to you. i don't remember seeing any legislative request from the secretary of transportation to give them the authority to make sure he can implement the ntsb recommendation. this is not a trivial issue. messrs. welbes: we have pulled together resources, we pulled together a team from d.o.t. including f.t.a. officials and other people capable in the department to do oversight of wmata. mr. connolly: do you dispute the latest report from ntsb that you are pulling together -- you weren't on the job at the east falls church derailment? mr. welbes: we walked more miles of track, we applied more scrutiny than the federal government has ever applied to any rail system. while we've identified many instances where track has been
taken out of service, we did not find the falls church incident. we are doing oversight of metrorail. metrorail is sponl for the day-to-day oversight. they have standards that the ntsb's report identifies which call for two times biweekly reviews. congressional congressional mr. hart, i am -- mr. connolly: mr. hart, i'm sorry. i'm almost out of time. i will give you an opportunity to respond to it. is that how you see? mr. hart: knows aren't there, they won't be there anytime soon. we were looking at not only the structure -- this is not criticism of the f.t.a. we are looking at the structure presently -- present. in order for them to have that it will take quite a bit of time. the f.r.a. already has it. we were looking to do an immediate remedy instead of waiting. mr. connolly: and does the secretary of transportation have the authority to implement that immediate recommendation of yours? mr. hart: our recommendation was to ask congress to include within a list, a legislative list this property, wmata so it
will be overseen by the federal railroad administration. mr. connolly: and did the secretary act on that recommendation? mr. hart: no. the secretary said he would prefer to leave the oversight with mr. fattah:. mr. connolly: thank you. -- will be mr. hart: with federal transit authority. mr. connolly: one of the -- you ran for office? mr. evans: i just got elected. mr. connolly: congratulations. one of the things we have to do is to build public support, especially for things that involve cost, is that right? mr. evans: yes. mr. connolly: so do you think your comments and those of mr. price, your d.c. colleague on the metro board, are helpful to those of us in virginia and maryland in trying to build any kind of public consensus about a dedicated source of revenue when you threaten on that board to close down the largest single connection to metro in northern virginia?
mr. evans: well -- mr. connolly: your remarks are calculated to be helpful to us, is that right, or were you just playing games to appeal to somebody in maybe your jurisdiction without regard to the implications in our jurisdictions where we're trying to actually be supportive? mr. evans: the background on mr. price's comments is the following -- the background on mr. price's comments is the following -- we have a $290 million shortfall this year that will only get greater in the future. mr. connolly: mr. evans, i don't need a lecture about the current condition of metro. i know it intimately. i'm asking you a question about what you and mr. price were getting at in threatening virginia's largest investment in metro which, by the way, involves federal funding, the went to ngle grant the silver line so it has implications where we renew the
$150 million s.i.p., let alone talk about a federal operating subsidy which you and i share. i'm here to suggest to you that your comments and those of mr. price were cheap and reckless and have huge implications on my side of the river. you don't want, at least you say you don't want. you campaigned against the parochialism of your colleagues on the board and yet you and . price are now the very parochialism and you have done real damage on our side of the river. you want to respond to that? mr. evans: if you'd give me a moment. mr. connolly: of course. mr. evans: so, again, everything is on the table in trying to deal with these huge deficits we have going forward. it's clear to me now that neither maryland or virginia will do a dedicated funding source anytime in the future and it's unlikely we'll get federal help. the cards i have are the deck i
have to play with. mr. prices are only responding to a question in suggesting how we can save money. the silver line, as you know, is not being built by metro. it's being funded, as you say, federal dollars in the commonwealth of virginia. although -- . connolly: and by the virginia business. mr. evans: i understand. when the silver line is built, you turn it to us to operate. the ridership, in our briefing, is 1/3 what we predicted. the silver line was hoped the ridership would be so great it would cover the cost which is not close. we are today losing tens of millions of dollars in operating the silver line. when the silver line is complete, given the projection, metro will then be losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year to operate the silver line. so mr. price, who is one of the most successful african-american businessmen in the country and is a turn-around specialist, looking at this as a business saying, how are we going to afford to
operate the silver line to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year when we are losing $300 million to $400 million a year already? i think the answer is, congressman connelly -- you and i are on the same line. mr. connolly: i don't think we are. mr. evans: we need more money from the jurisdiction. mr. connolly: first of all, i don't know whether mr. price is aware of the development plans along the deless corridor because we are -- dulles corridor because we are ilding lots of residential and it's depending -- dependent on the silver line. in tyson's corner, there are thousands of new residents. the goal is to go from 17,000 that live in tyson's to 100,000. and it's the silver line that's critical to that. let me say philosophically, it's very hard to listen to that when you've threatened a
region veto for any cuts to your district but you have no compunction to say to entire state that the major investment in metro ought to be closed. and you go down that road and you fracture the regional coalition, you fracture support up here and you actually do real harm to long-term prospects for metro. and that's my message to you. i've run out of time. mr. evans: i'm a big advocate for expanding metro. i think a silver line will be a tremendous addition to metro. >> mr. evans, let me come back to you then because the gentleman makes a valid point. are you suggesting that you look only at virginia to close down something that had an operational deficit and didn't look at other areas that have operational deficits for closing it down? mr. meadows: because i haven't seen any suggestions other than what the gentleman from virginia is talking about and what mrs. comstock has mentioned to me. and so you're saying you wanted
o protect d.c. and take it from operational deficits that are in virginia and maryland? mr. evans: no, actually, mr. chairman, there is a long list of cutbacks in service. many in the med med what i've read in -- mr. meadows: what i've read in the "the washington post" and other places, basically anything that touches anything that has anything to do with washington, d.c., there is this unbelievable outcry that we can't touch anything. is that not your position? mr. evans: no. as of yesterday the district made a huge concession to allow the late-night hours to be curtailed yet again for another year and possibly two years, which is very much against our interests. but i was able to convince the mayor and the council to go along with that. mr. meadows: but not do away with them entirely forever? mr. evans: we'll see. you evaluate everything, every two years to make sure. mr. meadows: you get my -- my friend's point is you're making
a drastic comment that affects virginia and then just the little tiny aspects of inconvenience in washington, d.c., you debate for hours. you follow me? mr. evans: i do. mr. meadows: all right. so let me go on a little bit back to you mr. wiedefeld. do you believe that the safe track program is placing the system in a state of good repair that will allow riders to feel secure and safe on the system? wild wild -- mr. wiedefeld: do i for the above ground portion of the system. that's where our focus has been on. particularly on the rail tie portion of it. and the fasteners. mr. meadows: do you believe the same thing? mr. evans: i do. mr. meadows: let me come to the f.t.a. do you believe that as well? mr. jackson: the safe track work is an important step -- mr. meadows: that's not a great question. that's a great question -- they just answered it. just answer the question. yes or no? >> yes.
mr. meadows: mr. hart, let me come back to you. i want to come back to the east falls church derailment and what he ntsb determined to be the probable cause of this. could you help illuminate us for what the cause of that derailment was? mr. hart: yes. this is an area -- it's a crossover area, crossing over between parallel tracks and a scenario that has wooden ties and the wooden ties were left to deteriorate for quite a long period of time. mr. meadows: what you're saying is it couldn't have happened in a short period of time? mr. hart dwhrverage correct. mr. hart: correct. mr. meadows: you're saying the original construction of that particular area has left without any mapet nance that caused a derailment? -- maintenance that caused a derailment? mr. hart: inadequate maintenance in this particular segment, correct. that's why we looked at -- mr. meadows: can pe put the
picture up on the screen, if would you all turn your attention to this. if you'll notice that wheel there, actually the rail, i guess, is supposed to be between -- mr. hart: the wheel should be outside of the rail. mr. meadows: the actually just on top of the rail there. correct? mr. hart: correct. close to derailing. it's supposed to be on the inside of the rail. mr. meadows: in your opinion, this would be something that is not only a hazard, but something that is a derailment waiting to happen? mr. hart: this under f.r.a. rules would be required to be out of service because of the failure to meet the gauge requirement. mr. meadows: what kind of rules did you talk about? mr. hart: federal railroad administration rules. mr. meadows: i guess that's why we haven't called them in, is because they would have seen this? mr. hart: their requirements would say, if you see a defect, you have to act on the defect within 30 days and this defect's been around for a lot longer than 30 days. this would have been acted upon or put out of service, one or the other.
a long time ago. mr. meadows: who's not doing their job? mr. hart: this is why we're asking f.r.a. to be overseeing us. there are no analogous requirements by the federal transit administration. mr. meadows: let me come back to you at the f.t.a. you keep saying congress can do this and congress can do that. i appreciate that. i know secretary fox well, talked to him the other day, so you have made a request for congress to actually give you the statutory authority that you seek? >> yes, so we are following up on -- mr. meadows: you have made the request? mr. welbes: we have. mr. meadows: to whom? mr. welbes: we actually have the authority to issue regulations in the area that mr. hart is describing. mr. meadows: why haven't you done it? mr. welbes: we received authority from congress to do that in recent years. we actually have an assignment in the fast act from one year ago. mr. meadows: let me just tell you, it is not good enough for you to continue -- we have
derailments and injuries that are happening on a regular basis while you already, as you just testified, have the authority to fix it and you're not fixing it. how many more people have to die before we get you to act in the appropriate manner? mr. welbes: the broad framework and our ress set forth regulatory structure right now holds transit agencies accountable for the standards they have in place. so, for example, wmata's track maintenance and inspection standards are actually more strict for rail track lateral movement than the f.r.a. standard. the problem here is that the culture overcomes the rulebook in this instance. mr. meadows: you're going to blame it on mr. jackson and all his union employees, is that what you're saying? i'm going to get to the bottom it here. it's going to end today. i'm tired of the double speak.
is it his fault? mr. welbes: if wmata was following its standards, the incident shouldn't have occurred. mr. meadows: whose fault is it? mr. welbes: it's the systemic fault of all the people involved in that process. mr. meadows: you're involved so it's partly your fault? mr. welbes: we are overseeing wmata. mr. meadows: so it's partly your fault. mr. welbes: mr. wiedefeld has been taking steps -- mr. meadows: yes or no, do you have any role in the fault of injury here? yes or no? mr. welbes: we take seriously our responsibility. mr. meadows: that's not the question. great answer to a question i didn't ask. are you partially at fault? mr. welbes: the lack of authority has been a contributor, yes. mr. meadows: you just told me you had the authority. you can't have are both ways -- have it both ways. are you partially at fault? mr. welbes: sure, sir. mr. meadows: when are we going to get corrected? i'm tired of people blaming different people for the problem and having hearing after hearing
. mr. hart has done his work. mr. wiedefeld is doing his work. we have a union that says that they're willing to give you and participate and i would assume even fire some of their own union members, i don't want him to go on record, he may not get re-elected if he does, but i assume that they're willing to do it. and yet it keeps coming back to to and your unwillingness get the appropriate people involved and the oversight and management along with the other team. i want you to report back to this committee within 30 days the action plan you're going to have to address that. to be able to work with the recommendations that we just heard, to be able to work with the recommendations that mr. wiedefeld and mr. jackson with the union. 30 days. is that reasonable? mr. welbes: yes he is -- yes, sir. mr. meadows: all right. let me finish with one other aspect.
we are here today to get to the bottom of the problem. mr. jackson, i heard you say that you could come up with a plan to fix this. that if they just listened to your union employees, that you could do that. i'm going to hold to you your word. because here's what i want you to do. i need to you come back to this body, within 30 days, i'm going to give the same time, is that fair? mr. jackson: that's fair. mr. meadows: and i want you to come back with four recommendations on what we could be doing differently. one of those recommendations needs to be what the union could e doing differently. to actually fix this problem. are you willing to do that? mr. jackson: i am most definitely willing to do that. mr. meadows: all right. my door is open to you where you can come meet with me at any particular time if you believe that your union workers are not being heard. i'm willing to listen. because we're going to fix this
problem. mr. wiedefeld, i want to say this. you're making a lot of difficult decisions that will make a lot of people angry and i told you earlier before this that this is not a good career move for you because anything that you do to fix a problem is going to be criticized by somebody. here's what you do have. do you have a bipartisan support with mr. connolly and i and others on this committee. what we're willing to do is if yule make the tough decisions, we'll -- you'll make the tough decisions, we'll ask the tough questions and hold people accountable and make sure we do that. i want to thank you for your work and i am over time and so i'll go to the gentleman and recognize him for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. briefly, a comment i'd like to yield the balance of my time to mr. connolly. 15, 20 years ago, as a local elected official in the san francisco bay area, i cam back
here with then surface transportation policy project with some members from california to look at wmata and the land use decisions you were making here as a model for california. where we know in a car tullture, we have to get transit ridership up. in the bay area specifically where bart doesn't carry nearly the number that you do. it's still 5% of our total trips and when they went out on strike, we saw the implications for the region, i think it was $75 million a day that we lost in production. mr. desaulnier: so, mr. wiedefeld, the challenges you have, as somebody who's believed for over 20 years as thank as we've become more urbanized we have to change our land use patterns. you have great examples of transit development that we've tried to replicate across the country. you're in this conundrum as a retailer where your ridership's going down because of lack of confidence. you have to lay point of sale people off and support systems. how do you get that back? i understand that safety is first. but the retail aspect of --
you've got to get ridership up. i'll put this in the context of how -- once -- how you you were perceived once around the country and how an he can dose dothetal experience the last -- anecdotal experience the last two years, i looked across the river at capitol hill and my realtor said, you want to be on capitol hill because you can't trust wmata. if you go across the river, you won't be able to trust it. that contradicts all the planning that you have done, mr. connolly, local elected officials, that we have replicated in other parts of the country, where we want people to be able to live in different areas and help with exhaustive housing. so long term, you get the safety problem fixed and the urgency of now. but how do you get that confidence back and how quickly can you do it so we get transit ridership back up? mr. wiedefeld: we have to focus on getting trains running on time, bottom line. there's two elements to do that. one is the track. we can't have issues on the track when we have open for
revenue service, where we have to pull trains down because of some issue. that's what we're focusing on for noo 2017 and the other is the cars. we have a fleet and we're changing out that fleet. the sooner get that done, the quicker we can get into more reliable service. so that's the other focus for us. that's where i have to focus on, the safety has to be obviously -- goes forward all the time. but we've got to get the service reliability up and it's around tracks and around cars and that is our primary focus for twenlt. mr. desaulnier: a comment about f.t.a. and ntsb. i appreciate you admitting responsibility. i share the chairman and mr. connolly's frustration. again in the bay area, it's been very hard and frustrating because i think this is a national problem. we can't consistently have 5%, 10% transit ridership as the total trips in regions in the metropolitan areas in the united states. it doesn't work. it's inhibitting our economic
grollingt. los angeles is making great stride -- growth. los angeles is making great strides but they're still 4%, 5%. whether it's congress, whether it's partnership with you, we have to change your role. i've asked former acting administration who used to work with me at the metropolitan transportation commission, of whom i have much respect, theresa mcmillan, can you at least give us guidelines about best practices on our budgets? what's the appropriate -- with a range of what we should have and operating reserves, capital reserves, how can we help with our negotiations to make sure that our employees who live in high cost of living areas like the bay area, most urban areas, get a fair and equity wage but still maintain the retail and safety excellence so you get that ridership back up. as an observation, this is a national problem and i really wish that f.t.a. and the administration, the future administration, would act with congress in a bipartisan fashion to figure out what's your best possible role, not just when it comes to safety, but best practices around finances.
with that i would like to yield my remaining time to mr. connolly. mr. connolly: i thank my friend. mr. jackson, over to you. i heard your testimony and it sounded good, about, you know, commitment to customers and so forth. what about a.t.u. and the union's responsibilities, though, in terms of accountability? we have a situation, i'm not asking to you prejudge it, but in theory, do you agree that if somebody falsifies records and endangers public safety, their job ought to be on the line? mean, we had the union try to overturn a decision made by the general manager when we had an operator who blew through a red lipet. endangering lives. -- light. endangering lives. now, maybe there was a good case. i'm all for due process. i'm a democrat. i support unions. but i also insist there has to be some accountability in the work force.
it's your job to join with me on -- to join with management in making sure that the tradeoff is ood wages and performance. and i want to hear more about that. because i didn't hear a lot of that in your testimony, especially after yesterday's release of the ntsb report on a derailment that involved workers who falsified records. mr. jackson: mr. connolly, i would be more than happy to touch on that. as far as workers and the falsification of documents, one, you will have to really understand the culture at wmata. if you go to these workers and you're asking these workers about these documents, these are the documents and part of it is training. and the harassment that the workers receive from the managers. why would a manager give a worker a task that he knows is impossible to complete? mr. connolly: hold on. you're saying that they
falsified the records because they were harassed to be able to -- mr. jackson, that's a big leap. mr. meadows: if that's happening , you're saying they falsified the records because someone forced them to falsify them? mr. jackson: no. in their mind, they did the work. let me explain it to you. if you give me a task that takes 45 minutes to complete and go out there and then my mind, i complete that task in five minutes, i went out there and i inspected what you asked know look at, then what you're doing is you're setting me up to fail. so now if i go back and i do not finish those 30 inspections that you know i have no way of completing, i'm disciplined for not finishing my inspections. so what these guys are doing is they're doing their inspections -- mr. meadows: they're falsifying
the record. let me just tell you. you'll find i'll be your biggest ally, but if they're false fige the records, they need to be fire -- falsifying the records, they need to be fired. pure and simple. is there anybody that falsified records that should have been fired? mr. jackson: is there anyone that falsified records that should have been fired? yes, there has been. mr. meadows: so you're going to recommend that to mr. wiedefeld? mr. jackson: i'm never going to recommend it. mr. meadows: but you'll go along his recommendation on firing them? mr. jackson: i'm going to recommend that we look into the situation. mr. meadows: that's not what i asked. you're starting to get con tage owls. it's starting to come over here -- contagious. it's starting to come over here. you're answering a question i never asked. mr. jackson: i'll never recommend firing our employees. mr. meadows: will you support the termination of someone who has falsified records that may have caused the injury of someone else? mr. jackson: if it was their intent to falsify the document, yes, i will. mr. meadows: thank you. i'm going to recognize the gentlewoman from virginia, mrs. comstock. mrs. comstock: thank you, mr. chairman. i want to reiterate some of the
points that my colleague from virginia made about the board statements this week really not only being troubling by irresponsible. they were called political theater by our governor in virginia. i'd agree with that also. i think this week demonstrates not really why we need to have major changes at metro, much like what the federal city council is recommending, we need to blow up the compact and change it quite considerably. make big changes here. we need to get rid of the binding arbitration which is not allowing mr. wiedefeld currently to be able to make the changes he needs and put the people on task in the way to get the job done. and then we need to change the board. mr. delaney and i have a bill that we have on changing the board. but we need to make these decisions so we don't have this type of political theater. i hope in the new year, with our new transportation secretary, who not only has a lot of
experience in transportation, but in the labor department, that we look at all these issues and right size metro so we can have this partnership that we agree on and support. i think those were very destructive things that were done and i was not only very disappointed but it only reiterated the need to make some major changes to here -- changes here. on the same front, with the union, i'd like to ask mr. there a mr. david steven that you're aware of? is he here with you today? mr. jackson: he is. mrs. comstock: could you point him out to us? mr. jackson: mr. stevens? mrs. comstock: yes. ok. mr. steven is somebody, in the same line of mr. connolly being concerned about the attack on virginia, he was -- he tweeted out recently, i think he's been tweeth today's hearing and making some swipes against chairman mica on the barbara comstock is our enemy. do you believe that?
mr. jackson: mrs. comstock, i believe we have a difference of opinion on how this transit system and our binding arbitration should be handled. mrs. comstock: let me tell you. we have worked -- last year we worked together on metro. we got the money restored that we tried to -- some on my own side tried to take out. i worked to do that. i have been working with my colleagues in the region to serve on the transportation committee. when you have that type of mentality, we've been working with mr. wiedefeld, their staff has been very cooperative. and it would be helpful, mr. meadows just pointed out a reason to fire people and i think mr. connolly pointed out too, here's a headline, metro union sues to get fired worker back on the job after the deadly smoke incident. this was another incident where falsified reports happened. so, you're still pursuing keeping that employee who falsified records, you're keeping -- want to keep him
employed. mr. jackson: mrs. comstock, what you have to understand is that we have what's known as binding arbitration. and the arbitrator decided that this employee should keep his position at the authority. i believe that even in his findings, there were some -- there may have been statements along the lines of, it's the cultural -- the culture at this company. mrs. comstock: on the culture. i actually think this would be something helpful for all of us to do on a bipartisan basis. i would like to go out with your track workers, come out with you, and see what the process is. because i don't understand -- it seem like nobody has any records of this. people say there aren't records. you're making accusations that people are asking to you falsify it. is anyone familiar with ipadded and phones? -- ipads and phones? do you have these things? do you have one? you all have them? i understand that there is very easy technology where people can come out and record this. and record what's going on there. and if you record that, there's time stamps on it, there's technology that other transit
services use. they've come in and showed us this. i think that would protect you and your workers because it would show that you are onsite at a particular time, doing something, and if somebody said you didn't, you'd have that proof in your hands in that report that could never go away. if we could have the track system recorded, and i don't know what f.d.a. is doing, are you using any type of physical report instead of paper reports? mr. welbes: yes. mrs. comstock: we need to have that so when mr. jackson says they went out to do something and they were told to falsify it, this shouldn't be a back and forth of finger pointing. we should have evidence that shows what happened when you went out. we had the technology. this is 2016. this isn't hard. can somebody -- do you use that at all? mr. jackson: we're not allowed to use that. mrs. comstock: why not? mr. jackson: because the authoritys that h.s.a. a cell
phone policy, an electronic device policy. mrs. comstock: i'm having a technological thing that records what you're doing, not your particular phone. but technology that would i allow to you record that. mr. jackson: we're not allowed to have any type of electronic devices in our work zones. mrs. comstock: i understand we don't want you on the phone. mr. jackson: any kind of electronic device, meaning any type of electronics would be needed to record something, and -- mrs. comstock: i'm talking about recording your work. recording the work. mr. jackson: recording the work. again. the workers are not allowed to have any type of electronic device which will even record our work. mrs. comstock: mr. wiedefeld, i think we talked about this at the last hearing because we had people come in with that technology to do that. is that being looked at? mr. wiedefeld: it is. not only for individuals out there, but just doing it through -- by driving over the system and basically recording electronically the conditions of the system. we're pursuing that right now. mrs. comstock: ok. if he's made accusations about this, we should be able to factually pull that up and
check. we're long past having to have this type of finger pointing. when we have the technology. i'd also like to take -- mr. meadows: your time is expired. we'll keep it for a second round. we have a few other folks we have to go to. if you'll stay here, we'll come for a second round. the gentleman from maryland is recognized. mr. delaney: thank you, mr. chairman. you know, they say companies go bankrupt two ways. slowly and then all at once. and it seems like the same thing's happened to metro. across time, through really decades of bad decisions, we've gotten to the point that everything has collapsed upon itself. the differences, the company, if it has a reason to exist, it goes through a restructuring, it brings in new governance, new management, and it gets new capital and it begins the path of a turn-around. the problem we have here with metro is there's no obvious forcing function to allow that
to occur. because it's not a company. it's multijurisdictional interprice. the jurisdictions will continue to fund it at low levels, it will limp along, it won't be able to do the restructurings it needs to do and it can't change the governance structure. but ultimately, right, cutting through all the stuff we've discussed here today, that's where this has to go. we have to get to a point where -- actually, not a change in management, i think the general manage ears doing a good job. that part of the turn-around is occurring. but where governance has to change. no disrespect to the current chairman. but the metro board governance model has failed. where we need new governance, the gentlelady from virginia and i have a proposal to do that. we need to restructure contracts that don't work. we need a new strategic plan, we need new money from all the stakeholders. and that has to occur in some kind of forcing where all is
brought to the table and then metro -- because it clearly has a reason to exist, if any enterprise has a reason to exist, it's the western metro, then the turn-around can continue. the question to the chairman and the general manager is, what can we do to accelerate the occurrence of that day? because that day, which i defined as the day when the governance model changes, we're in a position to restructure, and only with those things will the stakeholders put more money in and they have to put more money in. what can get us to that day as soon as possible? because that's what in the best interest of metro and all the various stakeholders, including he constituencies. mr. wiedefeld: thank you. i happen to agree with both of you. if you remember, the original suggestion of getting rid of this board and having a five-member board was mine. mr. evans: a lot of fanfare back in the day. now the federal city council has adopted that model. what they're suggesting is that
the federal government, congress, with draw its support of the metro compact. if they were to do that, the compact then collapses. and all the jurisdictions are out and you have to start over again. my suggestion is a 16-member board from all the injures dicks is not workable. i'm doing the best i can with what i have. we've heard comments here today, all of us, including myself, end up being parochial, because we do. a five-person board like the d.c. control board of local people, but here's the catch. not the number, though five persons is the best number. with extraordinary powers like you're talking about. the d.c. control board had the power to access money from the treasury. mr. delaney: i've seen those proposals. whether it's that or similar -- they all involve change of governance, restructuring and more resources. what can get us -- because now we have these proposals floating around out there. and it's one of these situations, to my mind, any of them are better than what we have now. what can get us to that day?
it's not an enterprise that one day runs out of money and files for bankruptcy. that may be the biggest problem with metro, it doesn't have that. what can get to us that day? mr. evans: the federal city council has that legal outline. if congress with draws support from the compact. that will be the triggering mechanism that the compact then collapses. and everyone has -- is forced at that point to get back together again and restructure the system. and the structure from 40 years ago just doesn't work. just like the dedicated funding source. that has to be a part of it. the other five major systems all have a 1% sales tax, we don't have it. so all of that has to be new board, new tax, all of that. and you can make this system work. mr. delaney: does the general manager have an opinion on this? thank you, mr. chairman, by the way. mr. wiedefeld: it is around the compact. that is the mechanism to attack this. mr. delaney: ok. i yield back. mr. meadows: i thank the gentleman. mr. connolly: would my friends
yield for one observation? mr. meadows: of course. mr. connolly: it's complicated. it's also complicated by the -- i find it ironic that the district of columbia that talks about taxation without representation, which i support, would nonetheless favor a system at metro that would take away representation from the people who pay the taxes. in virginia it's localities, not the state, that pays the operating subsidy. and you're going to find fierce resistance to those taxpayers to lose their representation. mr. delaney: reclaiming my time briefly. mr. connolly: you don't have any more time. i took it. i'm just teasing. mr. delaney: i'm not proposing any specific governance model, new governance model. restructuring, more resources. 50 different ways of doing that. that's where we have to get to. mr. meadows: i thank the gentleman. the chair recognizes the gentleman from wisconsin, mr. grothman. mr. grothman: we'll go a little different place than we've been so far. just a couple months ago on september 13 there was a train
that apparently came to stop outside a station. apparently for a while there was no communication between the operator of that train and the rocc. mr. wiedefeld, could you comment on that? apparently even prior to that time, there was concern they couldn't compact -- contact the operator. so not only did the train stop, there was no contact between the operator of that train and the central location. can you tell us about what happened there and whether you think the appropriate that it happened. mr. wiedefeld: sure. one of the issues we have is once an operator leaves the cab, in effect there is no communication with the remaining cars. so there were some issues around that. and so that is a personnel issue we're dealing with. did they follow all the rules they were supposed to follow at that time. the reality is when an incident occurs in the tunnel, and if there's only one wmata employee on it, once they leave that cab,
in effect you've lost the ability to communicate, you're walking through a very crowded train, depending on what the conditions are, and you're either talking, we do have megaphones, for instance, in the cab, they're to take to try to help with that chune -- communication. but what we have to do is figure out a way to get the rock to be able to talk to the train where the operator's no longer in the cab. there was some communication but it was not done according to the policies. mr. grothman: you're saying reason there was no communication between the operator of the train and the passengers is the operator got up and began walking through the train? wide yes, that's what -- mr. wiedefeld: yes, that's what they do and that's what she thud have been done -- what they should have been doing. mr. grothman: were they unable to communicate with the
passengers otherwise? mr. wiedefeld: you can communicate with the passengers when you're in the cab. we have problems on that issue as well. if we use different series of cars when we put them together, the communications don't work. so that technical issue we're addressing. but once they leave the cab, in effect all they have now is their walky talky and a megaphone. mr. grothman: because of the lack of communication, some passengers got tired of waiting and began walking down the track? mr. wiedefeld: there was definitely frustration. i think given the current -- some of the current conditions, i think that's what occurred. we obviously never recommend anyone leaving the car. that would be like, you know, if you're frustrated sitting on a tarmac in a plane, you know, sliding down. the just not acceptable. mr. grothman: ok. kind of a scary thing. were you aware -- was any employee of metro aware that these passengers were walking alone down the track? mr. wiedefeld: yes. they were just outside the
station. other employees were there, walking to the car. and that's when they saw these individuals leaving the car. mr. grothman: was the third rail still on at the time? mr. wiedefeld: yes. mr. grothman: shouldn't someone have been hitting the panic but then? mr. wiedefeld: that's what happened. they put these people up on the walkway and that's what caused a lot of the delay. then we had to inspect around the cars, make sure no one else was out there. mr. grothman: unbelievable. but like everything else here in washington, why would it work? another question. people always say the problem is lack of money. any big organization today, one of the problems we have is health insurance costs. what type of health insurance plan do we have for the employees of the metro? and what's the cost per employee per year? mr. wiedefeld: i can get you the details but there's two levels of health care. one is for the nonrepresented employees which is about 2,000 people. and the other is tied to the represented employees which is about 11,000 people. the 11,000 people is through
negotiated settlement through the arbitration process. the other, we have more control over. more recently we reduced the costs of that system by basically charging our employees more for the nonreps. but i'll have to give you .etails mr. grothman: how many nonrepresented employees do you is have? mr. wiedefeld: 2,000. mr. grothman: a total of 13,000 people. what is your cost per employee? mr. wiedefeld: i don't have that number. mr. grothman: about? $18,000 a year? $25,000? would anybody here know? mrs. comstock: if the gentleman would yield, i have some of those numbers. i could ask about them because i have some. mr. grothman: sure. mrs. comstock: i know 75% of the cost, is wages. and benefits. is my understanding. the information you had given us was that the average salary, for example, for controllers was etween $77,000 today 87,000.
-- to $87,000. the starting base salary was $71,000. because it was overtime, as much overtime, there was one control who are made $216,000 because of overtime. in one year. $216,000. this is the information that metro gave us. so, there's a policy where the people, my understanding is when there's overtime, the people who have the most seniority, this again is in the contract, for the highest salaried employees who maybe are about to retire, get the first dibs on the overtime, so they're able in your last three to five years to run up your salary, so you get a $216,000 salary and then that overtime is tied to your pension. is that correct? mr. meadows: the gentleman's time has expired. you can maybe reclaim for one quick question. mr. grothman: right. the question i had, i don't know
if you people know, it the not the matter of giving the employees more of the cost of their heament insurance. although that's sometimes necessary. the cost is what type of plan do you have, is it market-based or that sort of thing? i would hope that one of you up there, one of the four of you, would be able to just tell us what is the overall cost per employee, both the employee's share and the employer's share, of insurance. if you don't remember last year's, remember a year before that. is it $18,000, $25,000, 2ds2,000? what is it? -- $22,000? what is it? mr. wiedefeld: i just don't have that. mr. grothman: mr. jackson, do you know? mr. jackson: i don't have that. mr. grothman: it's amazingly incompetent for none of you to have any clue what that is. it just shows -- i'm over my time. mr. meadows: mr. wiedefeld, thank you for being willing to get that back to the committee. the chair recognizes mrs. watson
coleman for five minutes. mrs. watson coleman: thank you very much. that was a little concerning to me. that a person with a base salary of $77,000 today 80,000 a year could have overtime as an operator. mrs. comstock: controller. mrs. watson coleman: $200,000 some year. that number is scary to me. when does he sleep? i'm just going to ask you a couple of questions. i would really like to know what you think you need and do you know what you need in order to make this system operate efficiently and effectively and encourage people to use it? because i think public transportation is vitally important to our environment, as well as just to our lifestyles. so, do you have a comprehensive plan that lays out all of the things that you need to do with your cars, your tracks, your electrical, your whatever? mr. wiedefeld: we do. in fact, on all those levels. both on the track and on the cars is our biggest focus. but we have it for our buses and
our paratransit service. a big part of it is working closer, i believe, with the union employees. getting to some of those core issues. i agree with that as well. mrs. watson coleman: thrast plan that goes for, what, five years? 10 years? mr. wiedefeld: we have an overall plan. i'm focusing particularly on the remainder of this year and 2017 to get at some of the core issues we have to address immediately. mrs. watson coleman: ok. but to get the system in good repair, you have a longer term plan, right? mr. wiedefeld: we do. mrs. watson coleman: do you anticipate a certain amount of money that you need in order to accomplish this, both long term and then incrementally to get to that long term? mr. wiedefeld: yes. we have a program for the next six years, for both operating and capital. of what we would recommend. mrs. watson coleman: and do you have what you need? or is there a running deficit? mr. wiedefeld: we have a deficit on operating budget in the upcoming year of $290 million. obviously we have to have a balanced budget so i proposed a
certain way to get there that the board is considering right now. on the capital side, like any other major infrastructure, the capital needs are always larger than what we have available. we've identified a total need of 25ds billion. but -- of $25 billion. we have a capital program to chip away at those issues. mrs. watson coleman: so -- hm. so that -- if you have seven times six is what? give us $7 billion plan every year for six years? mr. wiedefeld: $1.3 trillion annually. mrs. watson coleman: what's going to be your deficit there? mr. wiedefeld: we have a deficit on the operating side of the equation. mr. wiedefeld: you always have more capital needs than you can afford. mrs. watson coleman: we're really focusing on the fact that your infrastructure hasn't held
up the way it should and there therefore have been serious injuries and loss of life and things of that nature. so that's where i'm trying to focus right now. mr. wiedefeld: right. we believe for the upcoming year that we have enough dollars to, again, move in that direction, to bring the entire system to what we call a state of repair, to get it to a base level. not expansion. but base level. mrs. watson coleman: all right. i don't think i really know the answer to my question. but i'm going to yield my time to my very eager colleague here. mr. connolly: i thank my friend. mr. wiedefeld, mr. evans talked about utilization and cost and loss on a certain line in the system. do you maintain an actual cost loss or revenue gain? for each station? or each line of the system? mr. wiedefeld: no. what we do is we manage this as
a regional system. that's the way we look at it. mr. connolly: how is he able to disaggregate the silver line from everything else and declare that it's going to cost something projected into the future? mr. wiedefeld: i don't know what numbers that were thrown around. mr. connolly: let me ask this. if we're going to go down that road, this committee, with the permission of the subcommittee chairman, wants to see data on every line and every station, and if we're going to start talking about closing things on gain or loss, we're all ears. we're all eyes. and we'll be participants in that. i assure you. so we want to see that data. got brought up, why pick on only just one part of the system? secondly, mr. evans, you were talking interestingly on the board about the affluence of certain members of the compact. certain parts of the compact. in fact, you made reference to
jurisdictions i represent in terms of their median household income. was that a predicate to maybe changing how we finance the operating subsidy based on median household income and the ability to pay rather than utilization or physical presence of metro in a jurisdiction? mr. evans: all of my comments are directed at getting the attention of maryland and virginia that we need a dedicated funding source. mr. connolly: why with you pick on the measure of median household income and affluence? what was the relevance of that? mr. evans: what i was say something fairfax county is the second richest county in maryland and yet we cannot get a dedicated funding source for metro. mr. connolly: this goes back to why i think your comment about the viffler -- silver line are reckless. let's take fairfax county. it's 400 square miles. how big is your jurisdiction?
mr. evans: 62. mr. connolly: how many stations you got? metro stations. mr. evans: 40. mr. connolly: 40 in 62 square miles. if you take out the silver line, fairfax has four. and if you're generous with falls church, five. in 400 square miles. it's a very difficult task, persuading our taxpayers to increase their subsidies, let alone vote for a dedicated sorts of revenue, if they're not served by metro. that was the genius of the silver line. to finally get service to the nation's premier international airport, which is a federal responsibility we're baring. secondly, to anchor the largest jurisdiction and the wealthiest jurisdiction as a stakeholder of metro. i urge you to contemplate that next time you decide to opine about the relevance of metro in my jurisdiction. thank you. mr. meadows: the chair recognizes the gentleman from virginia, mr. beyer, for five minutes. mr. beyer: thank you, mr. chairman. mr. wiedefeld, i want to thank
you again for, as many have done today, for making the hard decisions. john kennedy said to govern is to choose. you clearly have made these choices. you weren't able to address in your spoken testimony, but in your extended written testimony, you talked about the speed restrictionses outside national airport. and many of my constituents who regularly use the yellow and the blue lines question why speed restrictionses are in place so soon after the safe track work has been completed. can you explain what those will go away? or why they're still there 1234 mr. wiedefeld: sure. the speed restriction has nothing to do with the condition of the track. it had to do with a near miss out there. we have certain parts of the system where we're very -- we have very tight curves. that one is an s curve. we wanted to reduce the speed. there was actually a line of sight issue. we worked with the national park service to remove a tree. to do that so we could start to bring that speed back up. and then what we're doing is 're instituting a electronic
technology so that when workers are out in one of those wlind curves in effect, they are alerted that a train is coming and more importantly that the operator knows someone is in front of them and once we have that in place, we can bring speeds back up. when someone's out there, we want to make sure they're no in anger. >> thank you. much has been made about the culture at wmata. mr. beyer: how long do you think it's going take? what are your steps to change the culture and i'm going to ask mr. jackson this too. do you see the union as a willing partner in this culture evolution? mr. jackson: do i see the union as a willing partner with this culture evolution. i would just ask to go look at the union's statements over the last few years. we've been asking for this, i believe, since 2009. or maybe even before thenment i do know that during the -- i
can't remember the year or the guy's name, but he came with the rest of them. we have been saying this for a while. that the authority have a serious cultural problem. we have a very serious cultural problem. it's something -- something needs to be done. it can't get done by management, discipline and -- disciplining their way out of this safety culture problem we have. you can't discipline your way to safety. but if we sit down, the union and management come together. i believe that we can fix this problem. i mean, and then my professional opinion, i don't even believe we need the f.t.a. to do it. all we need is the training. mr. beyer: let me ask the general manager the same thing about the culture, difficulty, time, and willing partners. mr. wiedefeld: i know we have willing partners. i've met with hundreds if not thousands of our employees and basically they're very proud and the things you're starting to see now is the result of the
safety culture taking root. for instance, about three weeks ago or so we had an issue with the 4,000 series. that was raised by middle manager person. that basically said, wait a minute, there's an issue here and we pulled those cars out of the lead on the trains. a lot of the other speed restrictions you menged one, but there's a number of speed restrictions that have been the last few months. that's coming from line employees. that's exactly where it should come and that's what we want to promote. but i do believe with mr. jackson there's been a culture here, over a -- over decades, that has evolved. i'm not going to turn it around in months but a concerted effort by management and labor to do that. mr. beyer: thank you. chairman evans, we've given you a hard time today because of our comments about warning the blue line could be closed for six month or you cut suburban metrorail service to virginia, maryland and contribute more money and there bert be a flood of a better idea of a takeover
of wmata. this notion of not continuing silver line phase two, even though virginia's paying to construct it. i know you're working very hard and very passionately about dedicated sources of revenue and all that. ow do you respond to all these statements which seem to deepen the parochial divides and perhaps further undermine rider confidence in our system? mr. evans: thank you, congressman. actually, i think you take those statements one by one, what i found when i came to metro and became chairman is a lack of awareness. because of metro's fault. nobody else's fault. in this whole region, of how bad this situation was. the operations side, it was pointed out by chairman mica, we had just celebrated sorrows leave as one of the great times in metro and the whole thing was a wreck and nobody knew. it the finances, when i walk in there, i couldn't believe what i found. we hadn't had a clean aud knit three yearsering everything was in -- audit in three years.
everything was in chaos. what i've tried to do is raise the awareness of the region. starting out with close the blue line for six months. we needed to do something to fix these lines. paul's safe track program is a follow-up on just that statement. the idea of a control board for metro. it's been adopted by the federal city council. so all of these statements, which were inflammatory at the time, actually turned -- proved out to be what metro needs. i have to say, we're not even close to fixing this thing. there's a lot that needs to be done. but i will say this, we are light years ahead of where we were a year ago at this time. enormous progress has been made. mr. beyer: i thank the gentleman. mr. meadows: the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from new york for five minutes. mrs. maloney: the good to hear that some progress has been made. but i want to look for closely at the capability it's -- capabilities of the federal transit administration and what it brings to its role as the
entity with responsibility for oversight and safety at metro. so i'd like to begin with mr. webles. how many safety inspectors does f.t.a. currently have? mr. welbes: so, we have a team of 10 people working on our safety inspection. we have 24 people total who are involved in wmata inspections and oversight right now. mrs. maloney: 10 people and 24 -- what are the 24? are they on detail from other agencies? mr. welbes: there's a combination of 13 f.t.a. employees, we also have some contractor employees, we also have some detailees from the federal railroad administration and the federal motor carrier administration. mrs. maloney: how many detail e.s.a.s do you have? mr. welbes: i can report that back to you. mrs. maloney: do you have any contractors who help do safety inspection responsibilities and if so how many? mr. welbes: i will provide that to you for the record.
mrs. maloney: chairman hart, for the purposes of comparison, how many rail inspectors does the federal railroad administration have? mr. hart: i'm sorry, i don't have that number. i'd have to get back to you. mrs. maloney: great. mr. welbes, when f.d.a. conducts its oversight duties, does it have federal regulations to refer to or does it regulate metro based on the standards that metro has established for itself? mr. welbes: at this time we enforce metro standards. we hold metro accountable to carry out its standards. mrs. maloney: ok. and is f.t.a. working on a rulemaking regarding federal standards for transit operation? mr. welbes: yes, we are. mrs. maloney: that's good to hear. what is the status of that rulemaking? mr. welbes: in this past year, we've issued four safety regulations. one related to state safety oversight. one related to bus testing. another one that is our national safety program, which is the
overall framework for carrying out the new authority that congress gave it recently. and in the coming months, on -- we have two more regulations we are issuing. one is the public transportation agency safety regulation. and a safety certification training regulation. that's also ready for issuance. mrs. maloney: chairman hart, for the purposes of comparison, about f.r.a., does it hold the railroads it regulates to established federal rules or to the standards that the railroad's established for themselves? mr. hart: there's clarification that's warranted here. our understanding is what the federal transit administration is putting out is not regulations but voluntary safety standards. the f.r.a. puts out regular lyings which -- regulations which means you must do this or you cannot do that. i think there's a large distinction there between the two activities and i'm not sure that under the circumstances, where f.t.a. is intending to be a temporary body, i'm not sure under those circumstances they would be eager to create an
entire infrastructure with regulations and inspections, inspectors to find out if the regulations are being followed. they're trying to see the states take this function over sooner ran than later i'm -- rather than later. i'm not confident they would want to create that infrastructure that we think is necessary that the f.r.a. already has. mrs. maloney: do you agree with that analysis? that it's voluntary, not a real regulation? mr. welbes: in the future, our intent is that there will be certain mandatory standards, that there will be also voluntary industry standards that agencies will follow. t will be a combination. mrs. maloney: certainly with homeland security, you have standards in homeland security that are federal. mr. welbes: yes. mrs. maloney: i want to look at f.t.a.'s day to day oversight of metro. mr. welbes, how many f.t.a. inspectors are assigned to oversee safety at metro?
mr. welbes: so, we have, as i noted, a team of 24 people total in our washington metro safety office which we established a year ago. mrs. maloney: do f.t.a. inspectors produce regular reports on their findings? at metro for review by senior officials? and how often are these reports produced, who reviews them, and has f.t.a. ordered any specific changes in metro's operations to respond to findings that have been identified by these inspecters? mr. welbes: we have. we have done two things. we've done targeted investigations of key problem areas. for example, red signal overruns, track maintenance, and then we also have conducted day to day inspections. we've conducted over 300 daily inspections and they've resulted, as mr. wiedefeld will now, -- know, in, i believe the investigation side, 250rks one
specific corrective action that with a mat's supposed to carry out -- that wmata's supposed to carry out. some had been brought forward that were assigned by the state safety organization agency. about half of them are ones that we have identified. mr. meadows: i thank the gentlewoman. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from virginia for a very quick 1 1/2 minutes, since they've called vote. mrs. comstock: ok. how many people -- actually, the information you provided with us earlier is there are about 5,000 employees in the transit infrastructure and engineering services that ties a department at metro. and my understanding is that that comparable transit networks have about 19 of those employees per track mile and metro has 42, according to those statistics. would that be correct? mr. wiedefeld: i don't know. i'd have to look at that. mrs. comstock: could we get that information? i think what we really need to
have and what we haven't been able to get is, how do we -- i know you've said we're doing -- it's costing more and we're doing less. we need to get comparable data. i know mr. evans has said to me in private meetings that the contract is unsustainable and ving $100,000 bus drivers or $216,000 controllers are a very difficult thing. i'm sure your teachers in d.c. don't make $216,000. my husband is a teacher, was a teacher in fairfax county, i'm sure he does not make that, does not make $100,000. our teachers don't in fairfax. this wealthy county has been referenced. their teachers, their firefighters, their police are not making 2ds16,000 or $100,000 and these are people who often have graduate degrees and others. so i'd like to get that comparable data and we need to have that. but i'd also like to, given mr. jackson's comments today, saying that people are forcing them to falsify things. those are very serious charges. and i think we need names and information on that.
and you very factually stated that so i hope you would present us with facts that back that up. you are here under oath today and i think it's incumbent, if you have employees, because if your employees are being exploited like this, we need to have that information. so i would ask you to provide us names and places and incidents and go back to your employees and give us that information. then i'd like to make my request again and i hope you would be able to take us sort of on a tour, so we understand when your employees are called to do, whether it's 42 per mile, and i should also point out that these are people who, from the data we have, compared to what metro is paid, your workers are paid considerably higher, you are aware of that, mr. jackson, right, than the average? mr. jackson: i knee what our workers make -- i know that what our workers make, their salaries were negotiated with wmata. mrs. comstock: i understand they were negotiated. for example, the track workers who with their benefits make $55
an hour is comparable to the average of $30 an hour. it's the wake an hour rate is -- wage an hour rate is $36, then the benefits are $17, the davis-bacon track labor makes $23 and then $7 with fringe benefits for $30, so your employees are paid more -- considerably higher than davis-bacon and higher than the national average. would you agree? mr. jackson: i will agree that our employees also have to go behind those same contractors and redo the work that they have done. mrs. comstock: you're saying even though you have 42 miles -- workers per track as opposed to 19, you still aren't able to -- and you're paid more. i mean, i'm looking at the data that metro gave me. these employees are paid more and there's more of them. than the average. and yet you're not acknowledging that? mr. jackson: are you asking for the quality of the work? mrs. comstock: no, i'm asking for the salaries.
maybe if you could provide me -- i know your union's under investigation right now by the labor department. is that correct? mr. jackson: we're not under investigation by the labor department. mrs. comstock: they sued about the election wasn't probably held, is that correct? mr. jackson: yes. mrs. comstock: do you have somebody who could provide us with the information on the salaries and all that? because you've made claims that you're paid, i think, publicly outside of this hearing, that you aren't paid more than the average and that there's -- you're asking for considerable salary increases. is that correct? in your current negotiations? mr. jackson: we're in contract negotiations now. that's what they are. they are negotiations. mrs. comstock: for this $55, $53 an hour, you're asking for more. jack jackson we're asking for more -- mr. jackson: we're asking for more. the authority's always -- also
asking for more. we will come up with something that i believe will be fair for everyone. mrs. comstock: i think again i would reiterate, that's why the federal city council has pointed out this is unsustainable, given the costs that are not comparable to the national rates and why we need to get rid of this existing compact and the binding arbitration that makes it impossible for the leadership here to really implement what ou're asking them to implement. >> i thank the chairman, i thank the witnesses, we do have an opportunity to make the metro great again. i think that this panel is in very good hands. some of you may wish one of these days that congressman mica was back chairing these hearings. there being no further business before the committee and the dual subcommittees, government operations and transportation
>> some of the members of congress were talking like sick do you o or a year, feel like you've got ven after the job adequately and these reforms are ongoing? >> we have to continue to improve that. >> what do you think they need to know about what you've done internally? >> i think overall that the entire organization is moving in the right direction. i really do believe that. it's slow, you know. we've got to get it to term but that's what we're doing.
>> does a hearing like this do anything to make metro better for anyone? >> i think it airs some of the issues, clearly, that have been out there. i think that's good. it helps me to understand where they're coming from. i think that helps. but i think they all recognize the importance of this. so to see that reinforced is very encouraging. >> one last question, do you agree from the outside it's hard to discern progress? >> no. i've heard from customers come up to me in the system and say, continue to do what you're doing nd keep going.
>> you were fwoded repeatedlyly gerry connolly and didn't want to seem to go into it with him? >> i think i explained to the congressman, it cost us a lot of money and everything is on the table. >> do you agree you're guilty of the parochialism he accuses you of? >> we all are. it's the problem with the board, the fiduciary duty we all have of trying to represent our district but also do the best for the system. >> have you talked about this two-year deal? yesterday you were standing firm on one then you backed away and said, let me talk to the mayor? >> i have not had a chance to talk to her. i think she put a statement out. >> but you said under oath you
talked to the mayor and convinced her. >> the district wanted to go become to 3:00 in the morning. but we agreed reluck tanly to have the 1:00 closure. now the issue is, we only want it for one year and the board yesterday passed it for two years. we have to find out where we are on that. >> so you're steadfast on the veto for two year, that's a deal breaker? >> i have to talk to the mayor and chairman to see if everyone is still on board. >> would you veto it? to would but i don't want represent the city without talking about it. >> clearly these members of congress are not thrilled with your style. they don't feel you're building a consensus with them for some issues like funding. are you going to change? >> no. i didn't get that impression an i've had a chance to meet personally with most of them and our discussions are quite food.
i think my job is to continue to make sure the region is aware of the problems. if some people get upset by that -- >> is this all public b.s., this excoriating? because you meet in private and it's fine? >> yes. >> what should metro riders take away from this public bickering that's going on and the report about falsified inspections? what are people to make of this? >> there are two separate questions, the public dugs -- public discussion, bickering, whatever you call it, is good. i've encouraged my staff to speak out and discuss the issues publicly so we have an understanding how this is working. pause the board did nothing for years, it leaves a lot to deteriorate. under falsifying records, our general manager has been saying, we're going to get to the with the tom of this and fear people who aren't working. changing that culture has been a challenge. and you saw, we fired somebody
and he got his job back because of binding arbitration. it's driving me crazy. i agree with the chairman when he says, can't you just fire these people for lying an falsifying records? i would d it tomorrow. the question is can we do it with the processes we have. >> ok, thanks. i'm -- i don't feel bad i'm just losing my voice. >> i'm fine. >> is there a silver lining? >> i don't agree with the congressman on that the silver line was a -- a discussion we had to save money. it's just one of many discussions we've had. >> are you confident in the f.t.a.'s ability to issue oversight? so what's your reaction to the representative badgering that person's view on accountability versus supporting the general
manager? >> i think they're doing their oversight duty. was fine with it. just hear what they have to say. we have an opportunity to explain that. >> what are you taking away from today, this discussion? >> i think it was a good discussion. i think again the more informed that congress is about problems, the better we are. i've always said this is a $40 billion asset we've got a stake in. we've got to work together and make it work. i think again the positive aspect is, we have enormously increased the awareness in the region of the problem and number two, metro has made progress since i was here in april. we've got a new board, general anager, got a plan, financing.
so there's a lot of positives that have happened that people need to focusen on as well. >> i have one more question. what about the accountability, do you think it's making metro safer given the fact that there are -- >> absolutely. of course it is. of course, no question, safe track is making metro safer. >> in what way? >> we're fixing the track. you heard the general manager for here's two reasons problem, fixing the tracks takes a long time but that's what we're doing. >> are you aware -- >> you had one more question? >> yes. >> i don't know, the other guy as talking about it.
>> the israeli minister speaks at the brookings saban forum which seeks to bring israeli and u.s. leaders together to discuss policies and business. in late november, cuban leader fidel castro died at the age of 90. earlier this week there was a memorial service in cuba with remarks from current leader, raul castro, the younger brother of fidel. we air his comments tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. also tonight a supreme court oral argument on immigration detention in the case of jennings vs. rodriguez. the high court will decide if detained immigrants facing deportation can be held for longer than six monthings without a bail hearing. you can listen to the oral argument tonight at 8:00 p.m.
eastern on c-span2. >> listen to c-span radio this saturday for historic audio about japan's bombinging of pearl harbor, the attack that prompted the u.s. entry into world war ii. you'll hear president roosevelt's deck rahlation -- declaration of war addressed congress. >> a date that will live in infamy. >> as well as winston churchill's remarks to congress. >> the british and american people will for their own safety and for the good of all walk together. >> and interviews with veterans who were at pearl hear boar on the day of the attack. the 75th anniversary of pearl harbor as featured on c-span radio, saturday, 7:00 p.m. eastern. listen to c-span radio at c-span.org or with the free c-span radio app. every weekend, book tv brings you 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors and here's a look at
some of our programs for this coming weekend. on saturday night at 8:45 eastern, m.i.t. film and media professor heather hendershot author of, "open to debate" looks at how william buckley, founder of the "national review," used his television program, "firing line" to open arguments outside his conservative circles, which made him an early pundit. >> as our level of discourse seemed to be deteriorating, and the shouting matches seemed to be increase, it seemed like an porn time tb talking about civil a show that valued civil discourse, civil debate between people who disagreed with each other. >> saturday, the attack on pearl harbor is the focus of a discussion. we'll be taking your phone calls, tweets and emails live. at 9:00 p.m. eastern on "jards words," former senator george mitchell who served as special
envoy for u.s. peace from 2009 o 2011, looks at the israeli -palestinian conflict in his new book. he's interviewed by jane harman, president and c.e.o. of the woodrow wilson center. >> president abbas and the palestinian authority have long since renounced violence, have accepted israeli's existence, and have opted for peaceful negotiation to achieve a state. >> go to booktv.org for the complete weekend schedule. >> ermier today, president obama met with the united nations secretary general designate an tonee gutierrez at the white house he congratulated him saying he's proven to be an effective leader in his previous role at the united nations, serving as head of the u.n. refugee agency where he dealt with the crises in syria, afghanistan, and iraq.
mr. gutierrez will take over the u.n. on january 1. president obama: it is a great pleasure for me to be able to welcome the secretary to the oval nate office. e will be assuming a post that that obviously has enormous influence and impact around the world. the good news is that he has an extraordinary reputation as multilateralas led organizations at the highest level and has done so in ways that everybody recognizes has been extraordinaryly effective. most recently, his work with the u.n. high commission on refugees has been applauded for effectiveness, efficiency, and concretely to really
help people who are in extraordinary need. and the fact that i think all of us were pleasantly surprised by how quickly a consensus was achieved around mr. gueters re's designation signifies the respect in which he's held all around the world. from the perspective of the united states, the u.n. is a critical partner in almost everything that we do. it is a linchpin of the post-world -- post-world war ii oorder and through democratic and republican administrations, our partnership with the united nations has allowed us to help resolve conflicts, to provide development assistance where it's sorely needed, to tackle big transnational challenges like refugee flows or more
recently like climate change and at a time when those challenges are mounting and there's great uncertainty around the world, having an effective partner in the united nations, secretary general, will be critically important. so this meeting gives us an opportunity to share ideas about where the secretary general designate intends to take the u.n. and how the united states can work effectively with him. ve emphasized to the current secretary general how important the united states considers the u.n. but also how important it is, we believe, to make sure that the u.n. operates efficiently, that money is well spent, that we're doing everything we can to initiate
the kinds of effective management practices that mr. gutierrez is known for so that when we all have to be pinching pennies, being concerned about the needs around the world, that the work we do in the u.n. is effective, concrete, not just a forum for talk bug also a forum for doing. i have great confidence that our soon to be secretary general will be able to be an extraordinaryly effective leader in that organization an the united states looks forward 20 working with him. congratulations and good luck. mr. gutierrez: thank you, mr. president. express my s to intent to work with this
administration and the next administration. we live in a dangerous world, we have seen new conflicts and old conflicts that don't die. on the other hand, the globalization that has been an extremely part of economic growth, reduction of poverty in many parts of the world, has also left people behind. it's been the cause of unrest in p -- in many parts of the world. e also see many difficulties sometimes to make it difficult for human rights to be protected. and to be promoted. now, in all these efforts, i believe that the leadership of the united states is absolutely crucial and in all these areas, i believe that we need a u.n. that is more effective, more cost effective, more able to serve the people with very
strong reform minded approach. in the u.s. has always been line with this, and i want to make sure that the u.n. can be partners in the efforts that the west is making. president obama: thank you. congratulations. thank you, everybody. thank you so much, everybody. thank you, guys. ave a good weekend, everybody. >> follow the transition of government on c-span as donald trump becomes the 45th president of the united states and republicans maintain control of the u.s. house and senate. we'll take you to key events as they happen without interruption. watch live on c-span. watch on demand at c-span.org. or listen on our free c-span
radio app. >> thank you all very much. welcome to congress. >> sundayen book tv's "in depth," we're hosting a discussion on the december, 1941, attack on pearl harbor on the eve of the 75th an veersry. twoomey, ram, steve erin hota, and craig nelson with his book "pearl harbor from infa my to greatness," followed be a-- followed by an interview with a pearl harbor survivor. we're taking your phone calls, tweets and email questions from noon to 3:00 p.m. eastern. go to book tv.org for the complete weekend schedule. >> next, former white house staffers and presidential transition team officials discuss events leading up to the
inauguration and they looked at ow the incoming first family move into the white house. held by the national council for the social studies, this is an hour. >> i welcome you all to this vital discussion. i'd like to give a brief introduction of our esteemed panel. leading the discussion, dr. martha cue mar, and she's director of the white house project toproject, a provide transition guidance for those coming into the white house. also with us, ms. ann stock a former elementary school teacher who served as assistant secretary of state for the educational and cultural affairs between 2010 and 2013.
she was vice president of interinstitutional affairs at the john t. kennedy center of the performing arts and served as deputy assistant to president bill clinton as the social secretary at the white house. i found an interesting quote about you on the white house historical society. it says you always send care packages to the new social secretary, it's got vitamins, aspirin, nylon, it has a comb, hairspray, all the things you need to exist. >> and toothpaste and a toothbrush. >> ok. >> because you never get to go home, right? >> we also have dr. terry sullivan from university of north carolina at chapel hill a member of the faculty of the department of political science and 2015 teacher of the year there. dr. terry sullivan states his teaching is guided by his passion to train students to develop their own sophisticated understanding of presidential leadership, influence and the complexity of political strategy and the nature of political power. he also currently serves as
executive director of the white house transition project a multiinstitutional project preparing both major presidential candidate, the president-elect and the outgoing president for the transition. gary walters worked at the white house for 37 years, he was chief white house usher. the chief usher is making the white house a home for the first family and running its many events he supervised about 100 member os they have household staff and has a long list of duties. he observed the first family in their most human and most vulnerable. before and after flick events that form historical record of the administration. so please join me in welcoming the panel today. >> thank you very much. the way we're quick to proceed
is gary can tell us about the moving in and out of the white house families and the white house staff moving in as well nd the staff operations. in addition to working for hillary clinton as first lady she worked for walter mondale in the carter-mondale administration as well. and terry sullivan will also speak about the transition. gary, start us off and tell us about the moving in and moving out. gary: best i can, to still remain a person who tries to protect the privacy of the first family, that is our first goal, is the privacy of the family both on the move out and the move in. the chief usher's
responsibilities during the transition are first and foremost coordinating and directing the movement out of the current first family, and the plans and the moving in for the incoming president and his family. we also coordinate events to be held at the white house, plan with the social secretary for events leeding up to inaugural day. usually the presidents do thank you events for their supporters who have been with them for four or eight years. and they do receptions and dinners leading up to inaugural. i also would coordinate with the inaugural committee on the presidential reviewing stand in front of the white house that's used during the presidential parade, provide information as required to the secret service and to the military, the united states military who are performing the activities of the inaugural day. and then i work with the first family, the incoming first family, their representatives for the events and activities
that will happen on and after inaugural day. in the actions of the pre and post-events at the white house, the chief usher works with the social secretary, providing information on the -- for the incoming family and then the social secretary of the sitting president for the events that are going to take place leading up to inaugural morning. >> we're hooked at the hip. gary: we spent a lot of time together. >> like an old married couple. gary: the preand post-inaugural actives the chief usher gets involved in are the planning for packing of personal items as directed by the first family, arranging for shipment of those items out of the white house, arranging for the transfer of items that are on loan, whether they would be on loan from personal entities, libraries, art galleries and also those things that are possession of
the united states government and go to the national archives. as far as the post-inaugural day activities are concerned, we coordinate activities within the executive residence for the first family as well as their guests who have attended the inaugural balls on inaugural evening and their plans for staying around for a couple of days or getting out of town, whichever they decide to do. there's also planning that's carried out in the execution of those post-inaugural parties, once again the president has a lot of people he wants to thank for helping him get into office. to assist the current first family's move into the white house, and before i go any further, i want to establish the fact that all the moving, packing and -- are done at the direction of the first family. the sitting first family. and none of that is done without their direction. the executive residence remains
the home of the sitting president until they depart on inaugural morning to go to the capitol. then following our discussions with the first lady, we follow her directions in packing and cataloging items that are being moved out of the white house eventually with photographs and a written log and this is our documentation. one is presented to the first lady, one kept by a chief usher, and one kept by the curator's office for historical purposes. this includes the items being sent out, the art work and so forth, and those going to the national archives. we determine when they're going out and where they're going, sometimes not decided until very late. usually in the late summer of the election year, the chief usher begins work on producing briefing materials for the incoming family.
each book presents questions intended to provoke a dialogue, usually with the first lady but also with the incoming president, and it asks them for their personal needs and requirements. we need to make the white house their home, we need to follow their directions, their wants, their needs, and their desires. a potential list of questions that are presented are what types of mattresses do you sleep on? what type of sheet? pillows? how about towels? what items, toil tri-items should we keep in stock? -- toiletry items should we keep in stock? what kinds of snacks do you want in the pantry? this is very personal information. and as i said, the questions are there to provoke a conversation. i would also present a floor plan of the private quart eshes with current photographs of all the individual rooms in the private quarters.
additionally, i would provide information to the incoming first president about the furnishings, art work, and those things which he may want in the oval office. i gather information, books, photos, from the white house fine arts and furnishings collections as well as books on white house history that are provided by the white house historical association. following the election and upon the invitation of the sitting president and first lady, to the incoming president and his spouse, the chief usher is prepared to present these briefing books and then to begin a dialogue and make contacts with the represent i have -- representatives of the first lady and president as well as anybody they deem to be their representative. then let's get to inaugural day. i call it organized chaos. because we have quite a bit of activity going on in a very
short period of time, usually six hours or less. the ress dent staff gathers before the sun rises and the chief usher invokes what we refer to as the five rules of inauguration. rule one, don't panic. we've done this before and we don't have any time for panic. rule two, be professional. we support the presidency, a concept acknowledged by the -- with appreciation by every president that i served. the residence is blind to party affiliation. rule three. it's ok to be emotional. that staff in the executive residence has been with the sitting president and first lady and their family for four or eight years. the emotional bond that develops between the staff and the family is very close. and it's very difficult at times to deal with that.
rule four, we adapt to the family's routine, not the other way around. and rule five, be prepared for anything, because it's going to happen. the official day begins at 10:00 a.m. when the congressional inaugural escort committee arrives at the north portico of the white house and proceed to the blue room where they await the president-elect and the president and their families prior to proceeding down to the capitol for the inaugural events. moving vans, which are placed overnight, any of you from washington know what traffic is like in washington on inaugural day, uber is not going to get around either. it's shoe leather. those moving vans come to the south portico, the resident staff is divided into a number of work crews, i usually divided them into groups of outgoing furniture movers, incoming furniture movers, packers,
unpackers, retrievers, placers, truck packers and track un-- and truck unpackers and then i used ' office to evaluate high value items coming in and going out. the chief usher gets to sit in the middle of this and be a concert master. directing everybody and ensuring that the twhoimbs first family are met. as the -- it is the intended aim of the executive residence staff to have the departing family know that they are still in their home on inaugural morning and it's not until they leave that they're actually leaving their home. it's also our goal that after the inaugural parade, the new first family comes into the white house that has been transformed into their home. their clothes are in their closets, not in boxes. their personal and chosen white house furniture in the places as
they have designated. even their favorite foods and snacks in the pantry. and then the chief usher gets the great honor to greet the new president at the north portico and at the conclusion of the inaugural parade welcome he and his family to their home. the white house. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much, gary. i'm going to have some questions for you after we go through ann and terry. ann: when gary says organized chaos, it gives new meaning to organized chaos. thank you, martha, for bringing us together. i have fond memories of working for president carter and vice president mondale and for president clinton and secretary clinton. i worked on three transitions and as he said a lot happens in a very short amount of time.
it is exciting, it's energetic, it's energizing, it's kay kaye yachtic, and yes it's absolutely exhausting. but neither one of us would trade it for the world. i think there are three things we should talk, just mention, that make the transition what it is. first of all, we always have to remember that the very first thing involved in a transition is the peaceful transition of power. from one president to another. and from one administration to another. an election is about people and policies. president-elect trump won. so he has the transition to tell the american people and the nation what his policy platforms will be, and then he has the luxury of that amount of time to hire cabinets, subcabinet, and staff to put those policies in place. it's overwhelming when you think about it. i'm not going to spend time on
this because you probably will but there are four million people between the -- between the military and the federal government that are in place. there are 4,000, i believe, political appointees that have to get hired. and there are close to 1,000 of those that have to be confirmed by the senate. when i say, and when you think that president-elect trump is very, very busy right now, he is. it's an overwhelming responsibility. but i'd like to just talk briefly about the transition for the family, because gary talk -- talked about the logistics of it but i'd like to talk about the transition for the family, particularly the first lady. i think that's a multiplicity of roles we should talk about and you should know about. on the clintons' first trip to washington right after the election in 1992, i had the good fortune to meet with secretary clinton, was supposed to be a 20-minute interview, ended up being an hour and a half. she is, and gary will tell you this, she is a presidential
scholar, if you will. she probably read 40 to 50 books on the presidency, on the presidents, and first ladies, on the roles that they play. but she was particularly interested in the first lady's role. i think not everyone realizes hat is solved in the first lady's role. anita bryant who is here from american university, first lady center, can also tell you and back me up on this. first of all, let me mention the roles because it'll be interesting to you to see what goes into what she actually does. first and foremost, mom, spouse, daughter, sister, ok, start with that. first hostess, we all look to the white house, almost all the time, to see what's going on in the white house. they are trendsetters at the white house. e first time they served
arctic chard at a state din eric it went year was up from 30,000 pounds imported to the united states to 300,000. diplomats. laura bush and hillary clinton went around the world as ambassadors and diplomats for the united states. policy advocate. every first lady picks a platform she wants, whether it was rosalind cart we are mental health or you know, you could name a variety of others. she is also a steward of the house as is the president. they take care of the house. they want to leave it in a better place, not a better place, but they want to make improvements to it and every president and first lady does that. she's a style icon. we look to her to be a trendsetter. i don't mean trendy but to showcase what the best of america is. i hope that's not my phone. [laughter]
i'm the one that didn't turn off my phone. >> that's one of the first ladies calling her. ann: oh my gosh. i had it on because coming here, my cab didn't arrive, then i had a flat tire on the second one, i was calling everybody. and then she also can be a spokeswoman both for the president and for the projects that she's working on. but the interesting thing about her role is she isn't elected, she can't be fired, and she has no official job description. nothing written in the constitution about what she's supposed to do at all. but as anita would also tell you, the first lady's job evolved over time. based on her interests, pace, and -- tastes and ability and what she dead sides she wants to do. she writes her own job description. believe me, she has a power frl and influential platform once she does that. but first, as gary mentioned,
one of the most important things about the white house for the new incoming family is that they are a family. and this is a home. and they need to settle in to the home. one of the first things that the first lady does, also with the president, because i mean, bill clinton built bookcases right with the carpenters so he could put his books in alphabetical order, literally. she oversees settling into the white house and trying to make her family life as normal as humanly possible. she becomes what michelle obama calls, the mom in chief role. and if you look back in history, whether it was jackie kennedy, hillary clinton, laura bush, michelle obama, every single person wants to know how to settle their family into the fish bowl of the white house and make their life as normal as possible. in september of 2008, i flew out
to chicago to meet with michelle obama and three of her staff. and a lot of her questions resolved -- revolved around, can the girls take their bags? where do they get snacks? what happens when they come home from school? but the white house becomes the sanctuary and the respite of where people, the family can go and especially the president can go to relax and just be with his family. think about it. every major issue, every major challenge, met every major opportunity, lands on the president's desk. it's important for them to have that respite of living above the store. i think you'll find and gary would agree that one of the important things for all the families is because they do essentially live above the store, they actually get to see more of each other, which becomes increasingly important. melania trump has already signaled that the mom in chief
role, and this was during the campaign as well as now, that is probably her most important role. right now. she likely won't be moving to washington until june when her son's school is out. absolutely a-yoke. you do what is best for the family. -- a-yoke. you do -- a-okay. you do what is best for the family. and the first lady serves as first hostess. that's an important role. we all look to see what's going on in the white house, what they're doing from an issues point of view, when the next state dinner is, what's going on in the white house, we want to know. that role startings the minute she comes down off the inaugural platform and walk into the white house. why? because as gary mentioned, there are likely a house full of family and friends staying there, there's a dinner there, and as we had the next day,
6,000 people come through the white house on a variety of events. but i think the next role is both a role for the president and for the first lady. they are stewards of the house. as i mentioned a minute ago, they want to leave the house with the imprint of the things that they were important to add to the house. they work with the white house historical association to make sure that that happens. for example, mrs. obama just restored the first -- the old family dining room. hillary clinton restored and worked with a committee for the preservation of the white house the blue room. the house gets wear and tear and a lot of things have to be taken care of. but in due time, the first lady kes on a really, really more public, historic platform and believe me, it's really
powerful. think about what mrs. obama did with the three or four things that she did. let's move, she drew attention to obesity in the united states. rise higher, encouraging kids to take a look at aiming to go to college. let girls learn, encouraging the 62 million girls arn the globe who aren't educating to -- educated to get an education. and i think the one that all of us relate to is the joining forces with dr. biden which she did with -- for our vets, with our vets. so you can see all of you are shaking and nodding your head you know what these platforms are and how powerful that bully pulpit can be coming from the white house. jackie kennedy did historic preservation and help red store the president's park. again, she helped write -- she wrote the first guideback to the white house, still in -- still
being issued with every new presidency. mrs. trump has also indicated, though, that what she would like to do is pick the platform of bullying and how the social media relates to young people. so that will be an extremely powerful platform that all of us can relate to. i think the other thing that hillary and i did in that conversation, and this is something else that all of you should know because you don't necessarily think about it. we talked about what the white house is actually used for. and how it's perceived around the world. the first thing, it is an office complex for the president. yes. the oval office is a center of power for the world. but everybody all over the world knows the oval office. a little known fact, it's a world class art museum of american history and decorative arts. one and a half million people
visit the white house every single year. there's a responsibility of the family and the ushers and white house historical association to make sure that we are purchasing the items that are historically correct and need to be back in the white house, but that's also just something that you don't often think about. for the clintons, and for most of the other first families, it's the people's house. what does that mean? you own it. it's your house. and the clintons wanted to be really inclusive and throw ep o-- throw open the doors of the white house wide and have as many americans experience the home of the president as they could. i was exhausted and so was he. we entertained probably almost half a million people in the almost five years i was there. but you want people to share and you figure out platforms to -- so that you can see what's happening at the white house.
but as gary said, most importantly, though, it's a family home. we often forget this. we've all looked at it, they live above the store, it's a very public life that they lead. and it is the place they can retreat. i think the other thing we don't often realize and i think mrs. trump is going through now, hillary went through, mrs. obama, jackie kennedy, mrs. bush, you have to think through how you raise children or a child in the white house. to live some semblance of a normal life and protect them, they didn't run for election. they're a kid who got, you know, put in the white house, chelsea at age 12. i think one of the most amazing things that the ushers did for her, i think it was the first night they were there, she had four friends from little rock spending the night. and they did a scavenger hunt through the state floor of the white house to find the painting of, you know, somebody in the
red room. and they were running all over, you know, getting used to the house. i finally realized, i knew when chelsea had made the house her home is her parents one night were having a dinner for people in the green room and she came down to say good night to them and the marine orchestra was playing in the background and she's a ballerina and she came down off the elevator and went down the grand hallway doing plies, dance, completely oblivious to the orchestra and her parents having dinner. when she finished, thanked the orchestra, kissed her parents and went upstairs. that's when you know they settled into the house. i think the thing that sticks out most in my mind about the transition is going from being in a campaign to governing. it takes a lot of time and a lot of training and it's the first time when the president of the united states walks through the white house for the first time. he realizes he's walking -- and the first lady. they're walking into the home of
all the presidents of the united states except george washington who never lived there. that's a powerful, powerful statement. i think martha wanted me to just address quickly the kind of moving in,ing the -- president clinton spent time during the transition appointing his cabinet and the white house staff was not appointed until about six or seven days, if i remember -- >> january 14. ann: how could i forget that. january 14, the inauguration was on the 20th and i had six days. and luckily for me i had worked there before. but you also have people who literally are walking into the white house for the first time. they don't even know where their offices are. you've got to figure out how to make all of that work. so my office became the hub of a lot of that. i was responsible for all of the activities, both in the white house and on the 18 acres.
we were a small communications and special events office that worked with everybody. the ushers, the staff, the cabinet. and the american people. to take the president's message and translate into events that all of you see and understand what's going on. i'll leave you with this thought. january 20 was my first day but not my first official day because i was kind of in the background observing this madness transpyring but january 21 was my first official day. i arrived at 6:30 in the morning. with no staff hired. to find that during the course of the day, we had a 3,500 person open house with the american people who, they wouldn't be able to do it now but they lined up at the gate and came into the white house. we discover wed hadn't invited a lot of the people who were -- had supported the president and first lady during the campaign
so we had another 1,000 people we added right then and there at 1:00. a thousand donors to thank. not donors, but a thousand supporters to thank. then my favorite of all time, a number of floats broke down during the parade so the president, on the spot, at the parade, invited all of those citizens whose floats broke down to just come see his new house. so we were like, what? and so we've got all these people performing in the grand foyer while in one room we've got a reception about to start and up the back staircase, you remember that, we had 375 people coming for dinner. needless to say, i arrived back in my office at 11:30 at night and sat -- and said, i have to get this chaos organized or i won't be able to do this because the next day we wore in the cabinet and it went on from there. so it is an exciting time,
always take an interest in your white house. remember it is the presidentity -- it is the presidency, it's not necessarily one president against the other. they all have our democracy in mind and i saw that every day i walked through the white house and so did gary. thank you very much. [applause] martha: terry, can you talk to us about the standing up of an administration and how a president puts together all of e people, those 4,000 people he can appoint. terry: short of national security, standing up of the american government is the single most daunting feature of the presidential transition from the constitutional perspective. sort of moving from right to left, we talked about the family, the beginning of the
institution, and in personnel, full face to comes the dual roles of constitutional leader around partisan leader. the creation of the american government is the testing ground of everything that has to do with the peaceful transfer of power. and in the 20 years we have been working on supporting the presidential transition, it seems to me the biggest lesson is that whatever job you think you have that makes you qualifies to be president and to be -- to have that experience, whatever job that is, is not like being president. a common thing is a sports analogy that was first laid on us by the george w. bush transition team. you know, arkansas is not texas. texas is the second largest
state in the union. we're in the major leagues. we're a triple-a billion ball club and we're about to send our best hitter up to the major league team. and that sports analogy is simultaneously a really good idea because it helps you feel like you're capable of doing the job, and a really bad idea because it analogizes the governorship of the second largest state to the president of the united states in a wholly inappropriate way and the easiest place to see that lack of appropriate analogy is in personnel. the governor of the state of texas appoints about 700 positions over the four year term in the governorship, and for that, they keep about 15,000 resumes on hand. so that in four year, they gather 15,000 resumes and process them. the president of the united states the candidate that is selected to be president-elect,
will receive at least 15,000 nominations in the first 24 hours. by the time they walk into the presidency, by the time trump walks into the presidency, they will have at least 300,000 resumes. so if you're trying to hit a 92-mile-per-hour fastball in a triple-a ball club, which is about normal, you'd have to be able to hit a 1,200-mile-per-hour fastball to go up to the major league team. in the real major leagues if you can throw 100 miles per hour, not 1,200 miles an hour, that means you're the god and savior of the world series team. so that's the difference. the presidency first and foremost in carrying out its constitutional and partisan responsibilities to lead the country is a gargantuan, if the president is coming from a
triple-a ball club he's going to the team that represents the milky way and the galaxy -- in the galaxy league. let's talk about those for a second. what are the numbers? well, there's a couple of things about partisanship. just to share with you about personnel, to share with you just as citizen to citizen. first, personnel is all about the constitution. it's all about governing america. if you don't have people in place, you can't govern. and so it's very important, personnel is standing up the american government. second thing. rsonnel is the place where partisanship and bipartisanship come in to meet each other. it is entirely partisan affair to stand up the american government after an election. it's appropriately a partisan affair. that's what elections are for,
to change the course of government. and is it's -- so it's entirely reasonable to have partisan appointments made by the president of the united states who is, after all a partisan leader. but it is also the place where americans of both parties elieve bipartisanship should reign. you as citizens may see washington as a community of sharks and jets, those of you who remember the 1960's, you may see it as sharks and jets but the reality is, the sharks and jets in 2012 passed a bipartisan law to revamp the partisan personnel process and turned 160 positions over from the senate confirmation process into the entirely partisan presidential process. and that effort was led by the
majority leader in the senate and the minority leader in the senate working in a bipartisan way. bipartisanship is one keynote of the personnel process. so if you're looking around for a silver lining, personnel is the place where bipartisanship reigns. let's just talk about numbers. there is a book that's published and it's called the blum book cause its cover is blum, and -- because -- it's called the plum book because the cover is plum and also because these are plum positions. there are positions in the government of the united states, they're positions not in the civil service system. not technically, anyway. there are about 8,000 positions listed in the plum book. that number is -- that number
varies from whoever it is you're talking to and whatever plum book you're looking at. there's a large number of seemingly noncivil service positions, about 4,000 of those positions are what's called a senior executive service, which is sort of civil service but not. and we won't talk about it. 4,000 is the number to remember. of those 4,000, about 1,600 of them involve either positions that the senate has to confirm or positions that the president gets to appoint mainly in the white house that are supportive of his own decision making process. the real number is about 1,600. of those, only about 200 of them are seriously time-sensitive important policy-making positions. that's a good news. there is a large number, 8,000, which seems unbelievely
impossible to deal with. a smaller number, 1,600, but still a large number, but there is only about 200 which are time sensitive to standing up to the executive and that's for the director of the f.b.i., the secretary of homeland security, the secretary of defense. so there are about 200 of those positions. that is good news. the bad news there has never had a president who had those positions nominated or filled by the end of their first year. if you talk about standing up the american government withstanding up the iraqi government, which we are always concerned about, we do a far worse job standing up our own government than wedom standing up foreign governments that we are trying to rebuild democratic societies. that seems daunting sm the good news is there is an enormously
competent and dedicated group of senior civil servants who stand in those places in the government while it stands up and that's an important thing to remember. so if you have a take away about personnel, it is absolutely critical and daunting and everything that the presidency is and there is good news and bad news. [applause] mr. marchant: let me ask -- margetmarget we think about moving our household furniture nd move it all in.
gary: the furniture is kept in the storage warehouse run by the national park service. they don't have to bring anything. but it's their decision. they can bring pictures. they can bring furniture. laura brush and her chief of staff can attest to that that they brought a chest that was owned by his grandmother. and that's the only thing that they brought with them.
gary: not the only thing, because the president, who wrote a book called "the charge to keep," he had a painting in the oval office and said this goes on the wall to the left of my desk where i can see it every day when i walk into the office. there are a number of things and a lot of these things are private that they bring on their own, but that was in the president's oval office and one of the things that people forget. in addition to moving in the thely's personal residence, oval office. on inaugural day, he wants to see it. the press covers it. during the transition in the executive residence, there is a transition, if he has chosen a different desk, that's in there. chosen new carpets and drapes,
all those things are changed because the impression that is left by that first look in the oval office sends a message what the priorities are of this president. and it's very important that we get it right from the beginning. ann: the outgoing president leaves a letter for the incoming president. and if you never read it, i think george bush's letter to bill clinton is one that you should absolutely go online and read. it's basically saying, your success is the country's success, i wish you luck in everything you do. but read it. i'm getting goosebumps thinking about it. but each president leaves a letter in the desk. martha: what did president bush say to you about that painting and tell you why the painting was important to him?
gary: he said it was the painting for the cover of his book, because he had the idea he being the president of the united states, he had a charge to keep with the american people. it gave him a direction in which he saw the country moving and he wanted to be there. one of the things that was one of his key points when he moved into the oval office and this is bush's efforts on behalf of education. and that was going to be what was their keystone for the first year of the administration was education. of course, 9/11 intervened and the president became the protective president of the american people. curiously, though, on that morning, mrs. bush was on her way to the capitol to speak before senator kennedy and the committee on education at the capitol. so there's quite a confluence of
activities. martha: she was at the kennedy center where i was working and about to open a new exhibit on the kennedy center. ann: another piece of education and she was there that morning. martha: on that morning, an example of the kind of way in which a white house staff has to be ready to do anything and the chief usher in particular does, can you tell us about your morning and seeing the -- watching television, seeing the world trade center attacked and then the actions that you took that prepared the way for the president to come back to washington. gary: once again, the confluence of events. the president was in florida. i'm sure most of you saw in a children's setting in a classroom when the incident occurred. i happened to be at the
southport cow as the first lady was to go to capitol hill and s told by the secret service agent there was a tremendous accident in new york and he ushered her in the car and said there has been a plane that flew into the world trade center. perfectly beautiful day. and i went inside. i will make it as short as i possibly can. i walked in after a period of time to see the television set in our office and i saw a plane fly into the world trade center and i asked one of my aides, how in the world did it occur and how did it occur? and he said that's the second plane. after trying to stabilize my thoughts, we moved forward. there was actually going to be a reception on the south grounds
that night for the entire congress, both the house and the senate, a barbecue on the south grounds. there were 150 picnic tables, chuck wagons. eventually we had to go out and move those. i kept seven people. i'm sure you have seen the police telling the white house staff get out! get out! i kept seven people on the south grounds and we got reports that other planes were coming in and report of a bomb at the state department and there were many activities. quite confusing day. i knew that president bush was coming back to the white house. as ann said earlier, the white house is an i con. and i knew that our president was coming back to the american people's house to try and calm everybody. and we worked during the course
of that day to make sure that that area where the helicopter normally lands was available for the president to come back and he made the speech to the american people that night followed up the next morning with mrs. bush in the oval office in trying to get the families be calm and continue with their daily activities. martha: ann, when you came in to the clinton white house, can you tell us how many people were there? what percentage of the staff that you would have, say, after a year, what percentage were there? ann: what i started with? martha: yes, what you started with. generally within the white house? ann: i'm going to guess 500 people which 70% of those are political. so 70% of those jobs and i think
-- 500-525. so 70% of those jobs turn over. the first day i walked in, i had no staff in place and the staff was small. it was four people. and i was very fortunate because i lived in washington and able to put my arms around 30 volunteers that became like full-time staff to me which gary knows. they were women and men who volunteered full-time to help us put together a staff that could actually run all events that we were doing. but there was a tremendous turnover and trying to get the right people in place with the procedures you have to do to get into working at the white house is quite a task. but it turns over and turns over very quickly and you need to get that staff put in place so you can operate. around erry, of the
1,600 positions that are appointed by a president and are key positions, if you look down and find the most important positions, there are around 200. what are those positions? why are they so critical in moving the government? terry: most of those positions are make policy are primarily national security-related and not making policy but defending the country. that means all the cabinet secretaries, the director, the chairman of the board of governors of the federal reserve and members of the board of governors of the federal reserve, council of economic advisers, the cabinet secretaries, the deputy cabinet
secretaries and then within the various cabinet positions, cabinet agencies, some critical cabinet people. the assist ant secretary of treasure for terrorism finance, that's the guy that goes around the world and shuts down the financial institutions that are undergirding terrorism groups. these are guys that carry out the president's policies and essentially carry out the will of the american public as evidenced in the elections process. some of them are more important to the president's agenda and some of them are less important, depending on what the president wants to focus on. so president bush came into office think he was going to be the education president. he was going to revamp your business, no child left behind.
and so there are people in the department of education which are more important to his agenda than say in the department of transportation, even though transportation is important to the american economy. it's a matter of making priorities and choices. all across the government, even if the president is not focused on transportation, the american economy depends on transportation, and so somebody's got to be focused on it and those people are presidential appointees and they make serious policy. martha: you could say when president obama came in, we were in a financial meltdown. and it took some while to get the treasury department stood up. so secretary geithner was there by himself. he had no confirmed appointees
below him. and so it does make the task very difficult. and it's the nature of our system that we want not just a president to participate in the appointment process, but the congress as well through its senate confirmation. although, as you had said, there have been moves to try to make he process more efficient. one of the things that we have talked about, gary, that i thought was really impressive ceremony, a very simple one, but a meaningful one for a president is on that last day, one thing you didn't mention was the ceremony which, in part, you established at the end of the reagan administration of the presentation of the flags to the president. can you tell us about the staff getting together to say farewell
to the president. gary: i would be glad to. the rest of the staff becomes very close to the first family, especially when there's children involved as there has been on a number of occasions. help them grow up in some manners. and on inaugural morning before the inaugural committee arrives to escort the president and president-elect down to the capitol, the entire resident staff, usually around 93 people is brought together in the state dining room for a brief good-bye with the first family. it becomes a tremendously moving period of time for the staff and for the families. it's a good-bye, it's a final farewell. one of the things i established when i became the chief usher was take the flag that is flying over the white house on
inaugural day, afternoon when he has taken the oath of office and take that down and keep it with the occur ator's office or in the desk draw in my office for four, eight years, and also the flag that is flying over the white house the morning the president is going to leave office. and i present those flags in a box made out of original white house wood. when the white house was reconstructed during the 1948-1952 renovation, the entire inside was gutted and some of that wood was retained for istorical purposes and the curators maintained control over that wood at the direction of the chief usher. and we make those boxes for the flags out of that wood and present it to the presidents. it usually ends up in their personal offices, at their libraries.
it's a very meaningful, small ceremony. it's a pretty private ceremony. the only people in there are the president and his family and social secretary, the chief usher and a few possibly very close staff members. and it's one of those things that the final good-bye and for the resident staff, it's extremely difficult, because they have to go from that end of their daily activities and get one family in and one family out and get ready to transpire in the next four to eight years. martha: you came into the vice president's office as well as coming into the east wing side of hillary clinton. can you tell us in coming in the
carter-mondale period, was the move in -- you had -- you were in the west wing. >> i was working for vice president mondale. martha: he moved into the west wing office. and how is that different, your move in during that period of time? was it less chaotic? ann: working for vice president mondale right after the inauguration, he went around the world to meet all of the allies and reassure them and just meet them and talk to them about what was going to transpire in the carter administration. and i was hired on the saturday night before they left at 10:00 a.m. on sunday morning. i was hired about midnight. and had to report to the white house at 8:00 in the morning, which i did, not knowing which gate i was going to. and the wonderful thing for me, i became the world's leading
experts in the day's they were gone on the white house. finding those offices, setting up the systems, setting up the communications, setting up the way you relate to all the staff in the white house and figuring what is going on so when the traveling party came off the road and those were all of the key people, i was the world's leading expert on the white house and the vice president's office. but i think one of the things to your point, though, chaos, the chaos is less now because of what's gone in place with the way the transition is set up, that money is provided to both campaigns to start to look at this process long before election day. and i think if you learn anything from this panel, it's a very complicated, overwhelming task to set up and staff a government. and we need the time and just
physically getting people, the 200 people you talked about, getting them into the white house with a pass on inaugural day and i have one funny story on this very first story, on inauguration day, mrs. clinton's personal aide was bringing her gown from blair house over to the white house for the inaugural ball and the white house access visitors' entry system meant that you showed up at the gate and waved. they knew that you were coming in with the dress and you were supposed to be there and that's not the case. we can laugh about that. but the thing is in a post-9/11 period, the presidents after that were absolutely correct to figure out peaceful transition of power. and anita could attest in 2008,
the table talk exercises they had been doing with both of the staffs came into play the morning of the inauguration, because they had a very serious threat and both teams, both outgoing and incoming team worked in the situation room right up until almost the time to transfer power. so it's serious business and we have to treat it like serious business and that's what this transition process is doing. yes, there is heckicness but the chaos has gone out of the situation. martha: terry, you talked about bipartisanship. and there is legislation that has been passed in the last few years and can you tell us briefly as we are hitting our mark here, about any of the egislation what it aims to do.
terry: most of the legislation that is passed in say 2004 is either addressing national security, making sure we spend up the government in a proper way and we make sure a lot of the things that we thought were being done turned out weren't being done. and so it took something like george w. bush who more than a year of announcing that he was running for president, he had tasked some of his gubernatorial staff to figure out what would they need to know when they won. and that's the kind of guy he was. and so a year before the peaceful transition would happen in december of 2007, he tasked his white house staff to make
sure that there was a flawless, seamless transfer of authority from his -- from him himself to whoever his successor was going to be even though they didn't know who it was. but it certainly could be somebody from another party. and that's the kind of bipartisanship that exists around the transfer process. and coming in behind those decisions, which were individual decisions made by individual presidents and individual actors about how to carry out this process, the congress came in behind that and in a bipartisan way passed legislation that sort of turned what were individual decisions into statutory decisions. now there's a range of things that happened in many ways and don't happen soon enough but moving backwards in time to get this right, you have tom plan. and that means you've got to be
measuring the drapes. to be responsible and have fidelity to duty, the people who want to be president have got to have people thinking about what are they going to do if they win. martha: thank you very much. and we appreciate it. we all appreciate it. we have learned a lot about how the transition takes place and it gives us a feeling that it's in good hands. that the career people who are there are doing a fine job of preparing the people who are coming in and it's the transfer f power, although somewhat chaotic and that is a very good one. thank you very much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by tional captioning institute]
select supreme court near the right-hand top of the page. once on that page, you will see four of the most recent arguments and click on the all-view link to see all the arguments covered by c-span and find many recent appearance by the justices or justices in their own words or one-a hiffhoo one interviews. there is a calendar for this term, a list of current justices with links to see all their appearances on c-span and many other supreme court videos available on demand. follow the supreme court on c-span.org. >> december 7 marks the 75th anniversary of the japanese attack on pearl harbor and this weekend on c-span 3, we are featuring programs remembering that day.
c-span.org. >> i decided to spend much more time -- i spent a week at west point trying to understand how this man could finish 21st out of 39 at west point and therefore sometimes viewed by these authors as historical intellectual light weight and he said of himself, i must apologize, i spent my time reading novels. sunday night ronald c. white talks the life and career of the 18th u.s. president in his latest book.
>> next hour and 25 minutes, a book tv exclusive, our cities' tour visit visits pittsburgh, pennsylvania to learn about its history and literary life. for five years we have traveled to u.s. cities bringing the book scene to our cities. iew it at crrg span.org/ citiestour. >> i went into that community. what used to be a thriving community. but shops all along the avenue
and not there anymore. >> sort of discrimination we faced was from the other black student who chased the kids home after school and calling them cracker and they would come flying up the rm street and there was a gate there and stopped the kids. one day, their mother said we are going to put an end to this, don't close the gate. let them come flying up. and she stood back in that corner hid i don't know with this big pale of water. over her head. the kids went flying by and doused them with this big bucket of water and said leave my kids alone. but that was part of the dynamic. it was an integrated neighborhood. it was not one really of racial tension.
he and his plays capture an important part of black pittsburgh. wilson had a real sense of place. he walked the streets of the hill district. he never drove a car. didn't have a license. didn't like driving. didn't like flying. he was a person who walked. he could walk for miles. he observed. and watched the guys on the corner and watched people in the barber shops. he would go in the barber shops and pool halls. he talked with them and learned from them and he could really
capture the atmosphere of those spaces. he liked to work there. that's where he did his writing and while he was writing, he was also listening at the same time and absorbing the atmosphere and the style and the feel for those places and he had the idea of the life he wanted to portray and it was life on the street and just off the street. it wasn't shut off in some sort of obscure location. it was every day life, every day people in every day settings and wanted people to be aware that art exists there, life exists there, important things are said there, things we could learn from in those places that people drive by and don't pay attention to and things that are said by kind of weird people that people look down on or look away from or dismiss. a lot of his people are outsiders, like he is.
it was multi racial, blacks, jews, italians, and syrians. people got along. it was really a community. people asked about each other's children, they looked out for their children. a neighborhood you didn't have to lock your doors. no bars, no brothels, revery little retail on this street. very solid working class, lower middle class sort of life here. and so wilson had a very comfortable childhood in that regard in that it was a pleasant place and he talks about this of how well the neighbors got along. but he had not experienced discrimination or racism or prejudice until he left the h