ORLANDO, Fla. — Lynx may not get a new CEO until 2021—and officials say a lack of funds is to blame.
Lynx's former CEO, Edward Johnson, resigned in February after Channel 9's Shannon Butler reported on a massive $21 million budget shortfall at the transit system.
Deputy County Administrator Jim Harrison was hired to serve as interim CEO in February.
Harrison was only supposed to hold that second job for a few months but could serve in that role until 2021.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings sent a letter to the Lynx chairman asking that Harrison stay on until a plan is in place.
“It is my intention to pursue a designated source of transportation funding for Orange County in 2020. With this in mind, I believe it is in the best interest of Lynx and the community to have stability and continuity at the helm of the organization,” Demings wrote.
He told county commissioners at a meeting Tuesday why a decision had to be made.
“Historically, especially in the recent past, the expectations for the delivery of services for Lynx have been unrealistic because we didn’t adequately fund Lynx,” he said.
Right now, Harrison and the staff need to figure out how to fix the shortfall they face.
Former CEO Johnson’s plan was to get each county served by Lynx to pony up more money to balance the budget.
The counties realize they will have to chip in, and it seems they were willing to hand over more money, just not to Johnson.
But that doesn’t solve the long-term issue: How to fund Lynx with Central Florida’s growth, keeping the level of service for riders.
The agency will also save hundreds of thousands of dollars by not immediately hiring a new CEO.
Harrison is already paid by the county.
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