Finalists for Coast RTA CEO position to be interviewed Friday

Three men will be interviewed by the Coast RTA board Friday morning to determine who will lead the agency that’s had a bumpy few years.

More than 20 applicants were narrowed to three people — two from the East Coast and one from Texas.

James Perez has more than 25 years of experience and had worked most recently for Central Maryland Regional Transit before his contract expired in July 2014 after a reorganization.

Barney McCoy has spent the last six years with the Broward County (Fla.) Transit, with special emphasis on strategic planning and long-range planning.

Brian Piascik has been a long-time transit group manager for URS Corp., having advised small communities and states throughout the nation on transportation issues.

Coast RTA’s struggles over the years include a failed seven-year attempt to install bus shelters and signage throughout various routes. State and federal money was granted to the agency, and at the end of 2014, Coast RTA learned it will lose more than $375,000 in state money over the next five years because the program failed.

The cuts will take effect in July, the beginning of the next fiscal year.

S.C. Department of Transportation canceled the shelter program in December 2013 and four months later, Coast’s board fired CEO Myers Rollins, citing failures with the bus shelter program. Rollins blamed the project’s struggles on SCDOT. He has since sued the state agency and Coast.

Coast remains on “high risk” status, one of two transit agencies in the state with the designation, which brings with it greater governmental scrutiny.

Before Rollins, Coast’s former chief Benedict Shogaolu pleaded guilty to three felony public-corruptions charges in 2006. He was fired from Coast in 2004 after an investigation by the agency’s board showed he misspent public money, mistreated employees and possibly violated state and federal laws.

Since Rollins’ termination, Julie Norton-Dew has served as the agency’s interim general manager. She was the agency’s chief financial officer before taking on the management role.

Norton-Dew had previously indicated she was interested in the general manager/CEO position. It was unclear Thursday whether she applied for the position.

Michelle Cantey, spokeswoman for the agency, denied The Sun News’ request for copies of the resumes and experience of the three finalists.

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