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What services are provided by the proposed 23 Transportation Cluster Managers and the proposed 80.5 Bus Route Supervisors in the Department of Transportation (DOT)? Are both these positions necessary? What would be the impact on services if either of these positions was reduced or eliminated? What would be the budget savings if these positions were eliminated? What would be the savings if either position was converted to a 10 month position? What would be the impact of such a conversion?

Question#: 2

BUDGET PAGE REFERENCE: Chapter 8-73

ANSWER:

Bus Route Supervisors (80.5) are responsible for direct supervision of approximately 25 bus operators and bus attendants. Duties and responsibilities include:

  • Observation on the routes
  • On-the-road supervisory presence
  • Ensuring compliance with COMAR requirements
  • Human relations functions and counseling staff, parents and students
  • Conducting periodic team meetings, safety assemblies at schools, annual bus route reviews and investigation of unsafe route conditions
  • Conducting random, reasonable suspicion, and post-accident drug testing
  • Conducting behind-the-wheel evaluations and bus attendant on-the-job observations
  • Investigating accidents
  • Dispatching
  • Driving morning or afternoon routes daily
  • Responding to and resolving complaints

Transportation Cluster Managers (23.0) are responsible for the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Direct supervision of 3 or 4 bus route supervisors
  • Communicating with principals, staff, students, and communities to resolve problems, address student issues, review route timing, etc.
  • Facilitating relationships between principals and school staff with drivers/attendants
  • Visiting schools on a weekly basis
  • Presenting at cluster meetings and principal meetings
  • Fostering positive relationships with schools and communities
  • Ensuring that all safety standards are met
  • Conducting school bus evacuation drills
  • Participation on the Depot Leadership Team and School Safety Teams
  • Coordinating school bus safety inspections
  • Establishing and revising bus schedules and routes
  • Writing, reviewing, and submitting reports
  • Investigating accidents and making recommendations regarding preventability
  • Presenting at annual in-service meetings
  • Participating at community meetings, Parent Teacher Association meetings, representing the best interests of students, DOT and all stakeholders
  • Functioning as department-wide late duty manager on a rotating basis

If the 80.5 bus route supervisor positions were eliminated, the transportation cluster managers would have to assume the responsibilities of these positions. This would also increase the ratio of employees per supervisor to approximately 80 to 1.

If both positions were eliminated, all of the above responsibilities for both positions would need to be assumed by the Depot Managers.

Most of the duties described for the positions continue during summer operations when 500 buses per day are running. In addition, much of the planning and preparation for the upcoming school year takes place during the summer, and is performed by transportation cluster managers and bus route supervisors.

Budget Savings and Impact:

If 80.5 bus route supervisor (BRS) positions are eliminated, the reduction would be $5,076,540. However, since 40.0 FTE bus operator 10-month positions would have to be added to the budget, the net reduction to the budget would be $2,538,270, including employee benefits. If 23.0 transportation cluster managers (TCM) positions are eliminated, the reduction to the budget would be $1,450,449, including employee benefits. To the extent possible, these employees would fill vacant bus operator positions.

If both positions were converted to 10-month status, the total reduction to the budget would be $1,342,550 for BRS positions and $392,605 for TCM positions, including employee benefits.

The efficiency and effectiveness of DOT has improved over the years due in part to the work of the bus route supervisors. Supervisors provide meaningful supervision to bus operators and bus attendants. These positions need supervision since they work outside of the presence of their supervisor and are responsible for the safety and supervision of students. Eliminating either of these positions, or changing them to 10-month status would have significant impacts on the operation of DOT.

DOT has experienced the loss of many potential supervisory candidates to other departments in MCPS, as bus operators with supervisor potential sought 12-month position status, even though many preferred to build a career in transportation. DOT still provides many qualified candidates to other areas in MCPS, but is now able to retain many of the best and brightest to serve as transportation leaders. Reducing bus route supervisors to 10-month positions would likely result in staff taking other MCPS positions.

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