National union leader accusing CATS leadership of misconduct, lack of transparency

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)– The leadership of the Capitol Area Transportation System is under fire again after a press conference Tuesday.

Anthony Garland, Vice President of the Amalgamated Transportation Union made a visit to Baton Rouge from Washington D.C. to hold the press conference.

Garland said his reason for the visit is that he has a message he feels the people of Baton Rouge need to hear.

“I’ve been in the transit business for 38 years, this is the worst run system I’ve ever seen, It’s like a daycare center,” Garland said.

In March CATS CEO Bill Deville said the Transit System was taking the extra measures to keep people safe and buses clean.

“All our buses are being cleaned and detailed and we’re getting special foggers and sprayers to protect our citizens who ride,” Deville said on March 3, 2020.

Months later, Several CATS employees came forward with a different story.

“The buses are filthy in the mornings and totally unsanitized and disgusting to be honest with you,” Former CATS employee Shavez Smith said.

Employees shared photos of dirty paper towels that they said showed the condition of the buses before their shift began.

Those employees said they were later fired for those complaints.

Garland has asked for full transparency regarding the terminations, he said the agency isn’t answering any questions.

Garland said the more he digs into documents obtained, the more they find.

“We have learned that there are some unethical events that are taking place in CATS in regards to contracts,” Garland said.

[The company was] “Awarding major contracts to insurance companies such as Gallagher technology contracts, communication contracts, contracts that are not properly vetted.”

Garland claims the HR Department is incompetent leaving current employees with no one to go to if they experience any issues.

“There is so much turmoil with HR, they don’t know what their job is… there is an outside attorney that they have turned all of their duties to, they are fighting their own HR department, and the leadership on the board needs to look into what is going on here,” Garland said.

Garland is now calling for immediate action against CATS leadership.

“We are here today to ask Bill Deville be terminated, Dwana Williams be terminated, as well as Pearlina Thompson,” Garland said.

Garland said he will continue to work to put pressure on the CATS board to investigate the claims.

We reached out to CATS for comment after today’s news conference, a spokesperson says the organization will not comment on personnel matters.

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