Here is the email that Metro CEO Phil Washington sent to agency employees this afternoon:
LA Metro Family,
Early last month (March, 2016) the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, enacted an ordinance to protect its LGBT residents from discrimination. On Wednesday, March 23, 2016, North Carolina’s governor signed a controversial bill that reversed the city’s decision by enacting a statewide ban on such protections. APTA supports the city of Charlotte ordinance and was disappointed to see that the North Carolina governor took steps to reverse the city’s decision to protect all citizens.
As a result, there have been calls for a boycott of North Carolina and APTA’s Bus & Paratransit Conference, and some governments have enacted official travel restrictions for their employees. I have given this issue some thought over the last couple of days and though I came to a decision earlier in the week, I wanted to first take the time to confer with our Labor/Union Leadership and the employee participants in this year’s APTA Bus Roadeo. That said, I have decided to join several other transit agencies in not allowing employees to travel to the state of North Carolina for the APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference.
I do not make this decision lightly, because I realize that many of our employees have been practicing and preparing for the bus roadeo and maintenance competition. However, as I conveyed in my first document to employees a year ago – the “Ready to Serve” document where I outlined “Some of the things that you can expect from me” — I have “Zero tolerance for confirmed theft, sexual harassment/assault, racial/gender discrimination, etc.” This fits into that zero tolerance category.
Finally, this morning I spoke with the President of APTA, Mr. Michael Melaniphy, informing him of my decision to not allow LA Metro employees to attend the conference on our dime. I also offered to host the APTA Bus Roadeo here at LA Metro later this year when we host the 2016 APTA Annual Conference. Michael and I will continue to discuss those possibilities.
In the meantime, we continue to march and be tolerant and respectful of all peoples, regardless of who they are or the color of their skin.