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Trailblazer looking for fresh start

Our view: Maybe it’s OK to kick the can down the road once more

Except for a few moments, Thursday’s Trailblazer Transit Joint Powers Board meeting was a much calmer, more productive and much friendlier meeting than the prior two meetings.
There were still problems, including an overly long discussion regarding previous meeting minutes and a series of split votes.
But, aside from being stuck on the problems that has plagued it the past several months, the board managed to accomplish quite a bit: it adopted its 2017 service plan, came to a compromise on wage increases and took care of the routine business of running a transit system with professionalism and common sense.
But the issue of Wright County Area Transit (WCAT) proposing to leave the local Trailblazer system remained unresolved. In fact, board members, on a split vote, decided to push the issue to its January agenda.
The board has been accused in the past of kicking the can down the road, but this time it may be justified.
If board members have not been able to address the issues it differs on in the past several meetings — most notably the workplace environment study and a letter of reprimand issued to its executive director — it most likely will not be able to resolve them in the future. Since the board members cannot even agree if these issues are legitimate or not, there will never be any resolution to them.
The membership of the board will change in January, and perhaps it is time for “fresh eyes” to bring a new perspective to the table.
As departing McLeod County Commissioner Sheldon Nies pointed out, Thursday’s meeting went quite well for the most part, except when it came to discussion of the workplace study and letter of reprimand.
“We won’t get that resolution, and that’s too bad,” Nies told his fellow board members.
And, he said, Trailblazer “is working quite well outside of these meetings.”
He’s right. For the most part, it is working pretty well, although it still has problems as it tries to accommodate growth into Wright County.
Here’s hoping that a new year, new faces and “fresh eyes” bring a new perspective to the Trailblazer board, and that it can reconcile its membership and move on with a focus on providing quality transportation to its clients.
— L.C.