Manconi Interview: Cutting Room Floor

- May 14th, 2012

A bit more from my interview today with OC Transpo GM John Manconi, edited slightly for the sake of brevity…

Asked if the mayor’s office had any input to his 12 priorities:

“It’s my strategy, my focus on it. (Deputy city manager) Steve Kanellakos, myself and the organization.”

On engaging employees:

“It’s about being involved and understanding the what before you get into the how and having that sense of urgency of employees wanting to be part of that, which many of them are. Many employees are telling me they don’t want to see a negative story on OC Transpo because it’s a reflection on them. They want to see and hear the postive experiences they do. 103 million passenger (trips) a year. We must be doing a lot of things right. I know there was a lot of hoopla about the 2,000 complaints in one month (in January). Well, I think the number was 0.02%. Let’s talk about all those other millions of experiences we had that was positive.”

On the being scrutinized as head of Transpo:

“It’s an expensive service that touches millions of people. It needs to be under scrutiny and we need to be accountable. As I’ve said from day one, we’ll be accountable for when things go well, we’ll also be accountable when we make a mistake. We’ll acknowledge them but move on. All I ask is people back off a bit and recognize like every other organization, we make mistakes. The focus will be on what do we learn from those mistakes and how do we improve.”

On what people aren’t talking about when it comes to Transpo:

“That it can be a great way to get around the city. It can be highly effective and efficient and it can be part of your life to help you in terms of lowering your own personal costs, in terms of contribution to the environment. OC Transpo has a great opportunity to be helping the nation’s capital be a great transportation system, an environmentally sensitive organization in terms of emissions. We aren’t talking enough about what OC Transpo is or what it can be.”

On what it will take to get more people to take transit:

“You have to walk the talk. Is (the bus) on time, is it clean, is it accessible, does the driver greet you, do you feel safe in there, do you get to your destination on time, is the fare reasonable? Those things.”

On aspirations of moving up higher in corporation:

“No, I started in 1989 as a construction services assistant in Nepean doing rear yard drainage inspection. When I got that job as an Italian from two Italian immigrants, I thought I won the lottery. Sitting in a cubicle, government job and I never planned out any of these moves. It’s an honour.”

On his one downfall as a manager:

“Not sure. That’s a good one.”

Picture: Manconi outside Ottawa City Hall Monday. Photo by the Sun’s Tony Caldwell.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com

Categories: Transit

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