What's The Matter At MATA

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation told the world of the troubles that former MATA boss Ron Garrison was in. Charged with patronizing a prostitute, the agency wants folks to know nothing is going to affect bus service or the future. Local 24's Mike Matthews has the goods.
 
There are no trolleys. Not in Memphis. We have buses, we have panhandlers, we have some traffic, we have politicians, we have police, we have crime, we have supermarkets, we have the river, we have the Grizzlies, we have Beale Street, we have lots of stuff. But there are no trolleys.
 
There haven't been trolleys running since 2014, the same year Ron Garrison took over as head of the Memphis Area Transit Authority.
Everything seemed to be going fine until he announced his resignation for health reasons.
The next day, people learned he'd been charged with doing a little business with a prostitute.
It's not known whether or not he took the bus to meet the lady.
 
This is NOT a joking matter at the offices of the Memphis Area Transit Authority. The interim Chief Executive Officer is Gary Rosenfeld, who says, "Personally, and also reflecting the board's position, everybody was just absolutely in a state of disbelief. Very disappointed in what we learned and how we learned of it last Thursday afternoon."
 
The MATA Board of Directors will hire a consulting firm to hire a new boss. Rosenfeld isn't shy, saying he would like the job.
And get this. He and his coworkers learned about Garrison's arrest like the rest of us, during the TBI news conference. The bureau said it was breaking up a human trafficking group.
 
Rosenfeld's goal now is to keep the often financially troubled transit system rolling.
All of this as city council chairman Berlin Boyd says he wants an financial audit of MATA. "I certainly welcome the scrutiny," Rosenfeld says. "However, I think that my track record... I've been in transit for the better part of 40 years, I am more than willing to meet with any community leaders to put concerns at ease in terms of leadership of MATA at this point."
 
And what about those trolleys?  "It would be too soon and presumptuous," Rosenfeld says, "... for us to say they would be in operation during the summer. I would think, if we get all green lights by the end of 2017, maybe early 2018.
 

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