BART inspector general resigns; calls out agency's leaders for fraud, conflict of interest

ByRyan Curry KGO logo
Saturday, March 18, 2023
BART inspector general resigns amid clash with agency
BART Inspector General Harriet Richardson is leaving her job Friday after she claims agency's leadership made her job difficult.

ORINDA, Calif. (KGO) -- BART Inspector General Harriet Richardson is leaving her job Friday after she claims BART made her job difficult.

"At some point, you just say enough is enough," she said at a media event at Orinda BART station. "I do hope that laying the ground that I have laid, BART will look at the office a bit differently than they have in the past."

Richardson released a report in the beginning of Feb. claiming BART had massive fraud and conflict of interest issues. She says BART awarded work contracts to former employees, plus BART paid an employee their full salary and benefits despite that employee not working their schedule.

MORE: BART responds after scathing report calls agency 'unreliable, financially reckless and inefficient'

BART Director Bevan Dufty says there is a lot the directors can learn from Richardson's reports. In terms of the conflict of interest, Dufty says the work was completed to their liking.

"The inspector general's recommendation was, we should pursue this company to pay us back for the work that they have done," Dufty said. "The work was completed. The work was more than satisfactory. For me, I couldn't vote for that recommendation."

The other issue is crime. Richardson claims most of BART's crime occurs by riders not paying for tickets and jumping the fare gates. Dufty says updating the gates needs to be BART's priority.

MORE: Here's why BART board president blames San Francisco for safety issues on trains

"It's our Achilles heel right now," Dufty said. "We need to get this done as soon as possible, and I think once we get a contract awarded, because we have a prototype, things will move much faster than they see at BART."

The Board of Directors will now be interviewing candidates for a new inspector general. They will recommend three people to Gov. Newsom who will make the formal appointment. The board says they need to get someone in as soon as possible. Having one, they say, will save BART money long-term.

"How do we make BART more efficient?" said Director Debora Allen. "How do we make it more cost efficient? I can tell you there is a lot of waste there."

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