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RTC boss gets raise and praise from commissioners

By Bob Conrad

Bill Thomas, executive director of the Washoe County Regional Transportation Commission,  today was praised for his past two years leading RTC.

Commissioners approved a 5% salary increase for Thomas – but no bonus. Effective July 1, 2022 his salary will be $241,395 a year.

Thomas cited his relationships with NDOT and Nevada’s Congressional delegation as positives during his two-year tenure.

“Sometimes we can get lost on a particular project, or a particular thing, and forget how that thing does or doesn’t benefit the network,” he said. “It is my fundamental belief that at the end of the day the public really cares about their experience on the whole network and so we really need to stay focused or refocus on the network effects of all the great things we do.”

Commissioners said Thomas has done a good job dealing with growth in the region and adjusting to the pandemic.

“You’ve found a very functional role for everybody to really grow within the organization, and I really applaud that,” said Commissioner Bob Lucey. “Director Thomas has done a wonderful job. I think he is constantly growing.”

Not mentioned were last year’s unprecedented three strikes launched by the Teamsters Local 533 against Keolis Transit North America, which left hundreds of riders stranded and without regular transportation.

RTC actively tried to distance itself from the battle between the union and Keolis. A This Is Reno investigation, however, found RTC staff worked hand-in-hand behind the scenes to discredit the Teamsters, criticize union supporters and denigrate news media sources that reported unflattering stories about the strike. 

Union officials said the report confirmed what they alleged all along, that RTC was not a neutral party in the conflict. Union head Gary Watson, during public comment at today’s RTC commissioners meeting, said commissioners should demand Thomas’ resignation.

Commissioner and Reno Council member Neoma Jardon, however, threw a jab at the Teamsters at the end of the meeting.

“Kudos to our director Thomas [and] a number of our staff members who made it through some tough times and took some really unprofessional, inappropriate and inaccurate shots and dealt with those very professionally,” she said. “I want to thank you for being the adults in the room and in the conversation. The future is bright for RTC.” 

Commissioners also during the meeting continued their criticism of the Nevada Department of Transportation and its recent removal of traffic signals on Mt. Rose Highway and Pyramid Way.

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