Despite the legal issues Park City’s new Transit Systems Manager is dealing with from her last job as the director of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, Park City hired Barbara Murdock, who rose to the top of the applicants who had applied for the job. Melissa Allison has more:
At first glance – things don’t look good for Barbara Murdock. She was suspended without pay for two months from her previous employer and then fired without a pre-termination hearing in spite of their contract to do just that. The charge? She used the company credit card to pay for personal expenses. There are also two recent checks in question which were to pay for her move to Birmingham. The problem – she’d already relocated two years before receiving the money.
As a result, Murdock is under investigation by the Alabama State Attorney General.
But Murdock is fighting back. She’s filed a lawsuit against her former employer citing discrimination based on her gender and because she was denied due process.
But this isn’t a cut and dry issue.
There are some news reports about the authority’s board of directors and high turnover rate. One report from the Birmingham Business Journal states that, between last December and April, “…four different leaders have chaired the board and there have been five executive directors in the last eight years.”
Furthermore, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin told the transit company that he will withhold the $10 million dollars the city provides annually, if things don’t change.
In spite of the hubbub, Park City still hired Murdock who told KPCW, she has nothing to hide.
“This was all politically motivated," Murdock said. "There is no proof of any wrongdoing, I’ve never been called for some sort of investigation that I think was totally made up. And, all I am is a transit professional seeking to do a good job in any city that will have me.”
What Murdock would say about her former position is, the board made it difficult to do her job.
“The administration changed in October of last year and the executive director of transit authority, the school board, the housing authority – they’re very political jobs," Murdock said. "And with the change the new administration just plainly wanted my position. Despite all the great things we did, they found a way to get rid of me. I’ve never received anything in writing that says why I was terminated. I read things in the paper that aren’t true, but to do this day I never really received anything. So, I can’t really talk about it since I’m in the middle of litigation.”
Murdock said she loves the transit industry and is proud of what she accomplished in the four years she was there.
“We grew the system over, from a $29 million system to a $40 million system," Murdock said. "[We also] put together a winning team [and] I personally wrote grants that brought in $3.9 million.”
Murdock said, while there are many differences between Birmingham and Park City, she likes what she sees.
“The demographics are a little different, its more of a transit dependent city and we have to fight for every dime in Birmingham for transit," Murdock said. "So, to come to a place like Park City, where the council, the city manager all understand the importance of a city’s growth being tied to public transit, I’m just pleased to be a part of it.”
KPCW contacted Park City officials for comment regarding this story. They said, because it is a personnel issue, they can’t.
Murdock started her new job on Monday.
I’m Melissa Allison, KPCW News.