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SMART board fires manager for parking personal cars at bus facility

John Hertel portrait

The Board of Directors of the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) voted unanimously to terminate the contract of John Hertel, its general manager, Friday. He's accused of parking personal cars at SMART facilities - an act the board says is a misuse of taxpayer funds.

“The appropriate use of taxpayer resources is of paramount importance to our Board members and the communities we represent, said Hilarie Chambers, Board Chair, in a statement. “Upon disclosure that Mr. Hertel was using SMART facilities and resources for personal reasons without knowledge or approval of the Board, we voted to terminate his contract.”

Hertel, who was with the organization for 10 years, abruptly resigned Thursday. His contract had been renewed just a week before. 

"The role of SMART in our communities is vital to workers and businesses, and the Board is committed to an efficient, affordable and reliable public transit system that puts people first," Chambers added.  "Unfortunately, the information recently shared with the Board shows that Mr. Hertel’s actions over many years indicate he was using SMART to manage non-official matters like the storage of his fleet of personal vehicles. To be clear, the contract extension announced by Mr. Hertel last week actually occurred on December 12, 2019, months before the information that informed today’s decision was brought to the Board’s attention."

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