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SunLine names interim GM

THOUSAND PALMS , Calif. - The board of the SunLine Transit Agency named Roger Snoble its new interim general manager at a special meeting on Friday.  His hire comes during the ongoing investigation of general manager C. Mikel Oglesby for a "personnel issue."  "I'm really honored to be asked to do it," said Snoble.  "I'm excited to help out no matter how the outcome comes out."

Snoble comes with 43 years of transit experience.  Most recently, seven years as the CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO).  He retired in 2009.  Now, he's back and ready to help SunLine.  "What I'll start looking at are the issues with the audit, and the financial situation," said Snoble. 

An audit which cost the company more than $800,000.  SunLine missed an audit deadline with the Riverside County Transportation Commission.  Consequently, the RCTC had to withhold $812,000 in state funding in April  Later, the board placed Oglesby on paid administrative leave for a "personnel matter."   "It's not a punishment in any way whatsoever," said SunLine attorney Jeff Goldfarb.  "It's simply so that the investigation can go on without any of the parties any of the parties involved in the investigation being present."

Whether finances played a role in Oglesby's situation or not, it's clear that board's concerned about money.  "What we're looking at are the finances, making sure that the finances are sound moving forward," said Coachella mayor and SunLine board member Eduardo Garcia.

That's why Garcia does not support Mr. Snoble's salary. The board plans to pay him about $25,000 a month for the next four months.  "I think we need to be mindful when we're making decisions to approve agreements and contracts, that are reflective and we can live within the means of the agency," said Garcia.

The board ultimately voted to approve Snoble's salary. He offers this reassurance. "I hope it's money well spent because hopefully we'll be able to get this over with fairly quickly," said Snoble.  "And maybe save some money along the way as well."

Goldfarb said the audit is now complete and SunLine will not miss out on anymore state funding.  We have requested an interview with Mr. Oglesby.

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