• Could Lynx's CEO be on his way out?

    By: Jason Kelly , Shannon Butler

    Updated:

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Some have asked if Lynx's CEO could be on his way out after 9 Investigates discovered the public transportation agency could be $21 million in debt next year.

    9 Investigates' Shannon Butler began questioning Lynx's finances in October.

    Her phone calls and emails to the agency's board of directors about CEO Edward Johnson's future with the agency had gone unanswered since then.


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    But Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings told 9 Investigates on Monday that although he does not blame Johnson for the shortfall, changes must be made at the top.

    "I think you will see a change in leadership at Lynx, but I won't get into it further than that," he said.

    9 Investigates asked Johnson last month if he would resign.

    "I don't think that it is time for me to go from this organization per se," he said.

    Read: Enough training? No one has used $400,000 Lynx safety simulator in months

    Last year, Lynx dipped into its reserve funds for the current year.

    In January, 9 Investigates discovered that the agency could need to find $21 million next year to balance its budget.

    Even with a change in leadership, Lynx would need each of the counties to which it provides bus service to pay more money.

    Former Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs was reluctant to raise taxes, but Demings said Monday he will soon unveil a new initiative that will help fund Lynx and other Central Florida transportation agencies.

    Read: Lynx CEO keeps job amid company's financial struggles

    "I'm not saying we are going to raise taxes, but we are going to have to come up with some (type of) funding strategy," he said.

    Documents said Lynx does not plan to raise bus fares to make up for its funding shortfall.

    Seminole County Commissioner Bob Dallari seemed to be in the dark about the agency's finances.

    "I am having a hard time finding this year('s) or last year's quarterly report or the external audit," he said.

    Board members said earlier this month that Johnson's staff members no longer provide financial documents and that the last finance report they received was in 2017.

    Read: Questions surround Lynx CEO amid company's financial issues

    The agency is contractually obligated to provide the reports to the county.

    The county had threatened to pull funding altogether, but it approved funding for this year. It is unclear what will happen moving forward.

    "I have got some serious questions about management," Seminole County Commissioner Jay Zembower said. "I have some serious questions about oversight."

    The board of directors is scheduled to meet Thursday.

    Read: Lynx CEO says agency needs more money from counties

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