Traverse City Record-Eagle

Region

September 17, 2013

Benzie Bus saga continues

HONOR — The ousted director of the Benzie Bus public transit agency is meeting with an attorney to discuss her legal options, and an agency official who terminated her defended the move.

The Benzie Transportation Authority last week did not renew Sue Miller’s one-year contract. Miller’s supporters criticized authority members during a contentious hearing because they did not state why Miller’s contract wasn’t renewed.

Beverly Holbrook, chairwoman of the Benzie Transportation Authority, issued an email statement over the weekend that said Miller wasn’t retained because she wasn’t doing her job to promote the bus and expand ridership.

“The vision of the board is to make the bus system a vital part of our community and our continued economic growth,” Holbrook said. “To that extent, the board encouraged Ms. Miller to work with businesses, schools, civic groups, churches, employers and other transit systems to promote the bus system and grow its ridership.

“We gave very specific input and direction to her in this regard and entered into a ‘Plan of Correction’ with her more than a year ago, all of which is in the public record,” Holbrook said. “A substantial majority of the board (as evidenced by the vote) believed that Ms. Miller failed to promote this vision and did not make successful steps outlined in the last performance evaluation.”

Holbrook said Miller initially proposed a settlement agreement to the Transportation Authority that would end up severing her ties with the Benzie Bus, then later rejected her own proposal and spawned a public showing of support for her at the latest meeting.

Holbrook could not immediately be reached for comment Monday. Miller said she disagrees with Holbrook’s statement.

“There’s portions of it that are false,” Miller said. “Some of the way she says things happened didn’t happen. I didn’t propose anything.

“I probably need to be careful what I say… but I will be asking them to correct it,” Miller said. “I’m meeting with an attorney today.”

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