Greater Greater Washington

Will the DDOT brain drain and low morale continue?

Councilmember Tommy Wells announced late Friday night that Scott Kubly, the official in charge of the streetcar, Circulator, and Capital Bikeshare, is leaving DDOT. This contributes to a worrisome pattern of good officials quitting amid declining morale.


Mayor Gray, Councilmember Jack Evans, and Terry Bellamy in April. Photo by DDOT.

Kubly is leaving only 2 months after the departures of Karina Ricks, head of DDOT's Policy and Planning department, and Leah Treat, head of finance. Treat left to work for Gabe Klein at the Chicago DOT.

While their contributions will be sorely missed, it's important to point out that there are many other talented transportation executives at DDOT.

Residents should be most concerned about whether DDOT is having trouble recruiting and retaining talent, particularly those willing to work exhaustive hours at meetings across the city to carry out a vision that inspires them.

With so many projects at critical junctures at DDOT, the prospect of a brain drain is a major challenge for new permanent director Terry Bellamy, new chair of the DC Council Transportation Committee Mary Cheh, and ultimately, Mayor Gray.

In any sector, the best talent is attracted not just by the compensation and responsibilities of a job, but also by the opportunity to work on impactful, cutting-edge projects. When employers create an exciting vision, it attracts talent.

Do talented transportation executives no longer view DDOT as a good place to shape the future of urban transportation in America?

Kubly says he's been thinking of leaving DDOT for some time. He considered leaving after Adrian Fenty lost the primary, but stayed partly because of his admiration for Bellamy and amid encouragement from many quarters to finish the streetcar job he started.

However, he cited a general malaise at DDOT that has grown in recent months. Working for the DC government is not seen as positively today as it was a year or two ago. He said that people now say something like, "I'm sorry," when they hear he works for DC, following the many scandals that have recently plagued the government.

Will more talented people leave DDOT? Will the city be able to attract talented and energetic people to the many now-open positions at the agency? They need to hire (or promote from within) a deputy director to fill Bellamy's previous job, a head of planning to succeed Ricks, a head of finance to replace Treat, and now a head of mass transit for Kubly's job.

In addition, there are several key new positions created at DDOT in the budget, including ward planners and, perhaps most importantly, a parking czar.

These questions are no doubt weighing on Bellamy. DDOT is well-funded in the new budget. But funding positions isn't enough if a bad reputation for DC and low morale at DDOT dissuades talented people from applying.

Ultimately, DDOT is much more than Kubly, Ricks, Treat, Klein and Bellamy. There are scores of excellent, visionary, dedicated public servants working in the trenches, spending long nights reassuring nervous residents, crunching numbers, and designing innovative projects.

Instead of prompting accusations, these departures can and should be a turning point, an opportunity to reassure DDOT employees and rebuild any morale problems that may exist.

Mayor Gray and Director Bellamy need to reach out to DDOT's remaining talented planners, engineers, and analysts. They should give personal assurances that they are still committed to a vision for transportation that transcends politics. They should praise and reward those who take risks to effect change, and perhaps apologize for the way political scandals have dampened the mood at DDOT.

We owe that much to the dedicated planners whose work goes largely unnoticed by most DC residents, yet whose dedication is critical to making Washington a great city.

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Ken Archer is CTO of a software firm in Tysons Corner. He commutes to Tysons by bus from his home in Georgetown, where he lives with his wife and son. Ken completed a Masters degree in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America. 

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Mayor Gray and Director Bellamy need to reach out to DDOT's remaining talented planners, engineers, and analysts. They should give personal assurances that they are still committed to a vision for transportation that transcends politics.

That would be a lie. Politicians very rarely do anything "that transcends politics," and this mayoral administration has demonstrated that, just the opposite, politics is the preeminent consideration in almost everything it does.

by Dizzy on Jul 18, 2011 10:37 am • linkreport

I spoke with Scott Kulby once at a CaBi station placement meeting. He seemed knowledgeable and even brought up mixed use as the only real way to fix congestion problems. I'm sad to see him go.

I think that losing some higher ups in these agencies (like Klein) was a foreseen possibility (certainty?) of Gray winning the election. What I don't think anyone considered was losing those good people below the agency heads. But we continue to see that elections have consequences.

by Steven Yates on Jul 18, 2011 10:55 am • linkreport

The brain drain at DDOT started at least fours years ago with the Department struggling to keep up with retirements and talented political appointees leaving sometimes hard to fill positions. The residency requirement doesn't make it any easier even in this tight job market to find the best of the best.

by RH on Jul 18, 2011 11:30 am • linkreport

One City baby, One City!

by John on Jul 18, 2011 11:36 am • linkreport

Is there a scandal at the DC government?

I'm aware of several scandals at the DC council. But the only DC government scandal I can think of is Sulemon Brown and the chief of staff.

That seems like peanut change compared to say, OCTO chief taking bribes or Nat Gandhi's minons stealing 50 million from the city. Just two from the Fenty and Williams era.

by charlie on Jul 18, 2011 11:36 am • linkreport

Another thought. I remember hearing that Kubly had his heart in the right place in regards to the streetcar project but that a lot had been dumped on him without the accompanying support from his higher ups. Could it be that with these higher ups now gone (i.e., Fenty and Klein) that he's finding himself left holding the bag for a project that is in serious trouble? I'm not saying you're not correct in saying that the low morale is probably a cause for his leaving, but I think you're ignoring probably the most direct cause for Kubly's own low morale ... namely being left holding the bag while the folks who put him in that position have skated away as the saying goes.

by Lance on Jul 18, 2011 11:39 am • linkreport

Bellamy and the Chief Engineer took control of the project over the last few months as they saw it as construction at this point, so Kubly's role was somewhat marginalized anyway on the streetcar project. I think he should be taken at his word, and he is typically blunt. He liked working for Fenty and the cast under Fenty including Klein.

As was said, elections have consequences, and this article is right. Very few people want to work for DC government right now that have any talent unless they are just motivated by a paycheck. Sound like any Council Members we know?

by buzz noteworthy on Jul 18, 2011 3:02 pm • linkreport

"They should give personal assurances that they are still committed to a vision for transportation [...]"

Rule # 1b.01 of good management: Do not say anything to your staff that will be viewed as a blatant manipulation/lie. Morale will never return if you are caught being dishonest.

by greent on Jul 18, 2011 4:09 pm • linkreport

Do we have any updates on how the Great Streets initiative is moving forward on Georgia Avenue? I just wonder if things are starting to fall apart.

by Petworthian on Jul 18, 2011 7:20 pm • linkreport


Scott Kubly was on the business of burning bridges and he was proud of it. He was put in that position when he had absolutely no knowledge of streetcar or how it worked by his friend Gabe Klein/Fenty. He is leaving DDOT with an MBA from a prestigious school paid for by DC taxpayers and he will not be re-embursing taxpayers for it - he was smart in that. Cabi was only recently managed by him but it was a program that was started by the group that Karina Ricks headed (Jim Sebastian et al)so the recognition should go to the right people not Kubly.

There is definitely a brain drain at the agency but unfortunately by the looks of it the top brass is unencumbered by this and it looks like they are running the agency just to keep things afloat not to do anything new and innovative - this could potentially be coming from the Wilson Building and/or DDOT itself.

Too bad - in the past the agency was known for something - not anymore.

by running in circles on Jul 18, 2011 7:36 pm • linkreport

Ken: can you provide more information to back up the title of your post. A few people over a period of time is not per se a brain drain.

by SJE on Jul 18, 2011 9:50 pm • linkreport

@SJE ... Well ... if Ken feels those few people held the bulk of the brains at DDOT ... then ... well, you get it ...

by Lance on Jul 18, 2011 10:32 pm • linkreport

DDOT under Gabe Klien was a disaster. Traffic calming anal retentive, busy body crazy FFFFer!! Stop signs 2 way, three way, four way, who could ever follow the profusion,, every corner(I now run them all just to get to my destination before the cows come home). Twwenty-two traffic signals on a single small intersection, so much black traffic lights, you can't see the sky. Speed humps, bulb out sidewalks,a million miles of white paint on all the new black asphalt(not cool , durable concrete),money flushed down the toilet like a wine party in a girls dorm,, waste full streetscape BS, but no undergrounding overhead telephone and power lines. Traffic lights so poorly retimed, it is infuriating to drive through the city anywhere. A three minute trip to the store has you waiting 20 minutes at traffic lights while no cars go through the intersection, some lights never turn green. Three traffic lights facing every corner. The second is just a huge waste of money , but the third traffic light is for visually impaired drivers. Are these people at DDOT FFFen crazy or WHAT!!The contractors under Fenty stole the city blind, the immature brat, just to lick the butts of upper income entitled snobs in upper NW. It was a PIGFEST of the first order. These birdbrian FENTY LUNATICS think if you divide everything into a thousand parts, you can solve any problem, but they created more traffic, congestion, back ups at every corner, more pollution, black crap covering everything and you breath the crap all day. What a disaster Gabe Klein has been,he doesn';t have gram of common sense in his whole body,,,
god help Chicago!

by Daniel Wolkoff on Jul 19, 2011 6:04 am • linkreport

BRAIN DRAIN ????? Dont' worry!! If the last 4 years at DDOT is the product of a human brain,, GOD save us!!!

by Daniel Wolkoff on Jul 19, 2011 6:06 am • linkreport

That was the best comment ever

by Bossi on Jul 19, 2011 7:33 am • linkreport

Ddot has been too political over many years and has not done the right thing in spending money or planning for the city. From bikers who forget this is the Nations Capitol and want to turn it into Mayberry to Cheh who wants to put a bike path on Klingle Road and call it an open road. Wish Ddot could stand up and and do effective planning and implementation instead of jumping around the political mess and then make excuses for their actions. No wonder they have low morale, they are not allowed to do a decent job.

by Sally on Jul 19, 2011 7:51 am • linkreport

"Twwenty-two traffic signals on a single small intersection,"
"Three traffic lights facing every corner."

Um, Mr. Wolkoff, I work at DDOT and none of that even makes a slight bit of sense and also none of changed under Gabe's tenure. We have no lights for impaired drivers either, where do you get this stuff? In fact, I can't find one item in your rant that has a shred of truth.

I think you might want to get some therapy, or get out of your stained glass workshop once a month and get some fresh air to the brain.

by DDOT Traffic on Jul 19, 2011 2:28 pm • linkreport

Wow Daniel W. I can tell you that I will not be supporting your business, and will recommend to my fellow leaders in the real estate and construction business to steer clear as well. Without calmer streets, and the effective work of DDOT over the past few years, we would not be selling so many residential units in the city while the rest of the country is going belly up.

This type of innacurate and hateful dialogue and diatribing has no place in the public discussion. For shame.

by M. Hoffman on Jul 19, 2011 2:35 pm • linkreport

So @by Sally on Jul 19, 2011 7:51 am

Your obnly issue with DDoT is bikes then, right?!? Your post only mentioned bikes... do you fear bikes. Or do you hate bikes?

by greent on Jul 19, 2011 2:41 pm • linkreport

I have to agree with Mr. Wolkoff that the traffic light situation in DC is a disaster! .... poorly timed, long waits and way too many lights. When I am driving about the city, I am lucky to get three blocks at the most, before hitting a red light and have to wait up to 90 seconds with no cars or pedestrians in sight (and in the middle of the day). There are traffic lights in some locations that make no sense whatsoever. Over by the Rhode Island Metro there is a stretch where there are 5 sets of traffic lights within a block and a half ... and none of them are timed.

by Robert on Jul 19, 2011 6:18 pm • linkreport

Seems like a number of you weren't here in the 90s before DDOT became its own entity. The freedom of choice we now have for transporting ourselves through this city is incredible - from new Metro stops to new bus systems to new bike infrastructure and wider sidewalks with safer pedestrian crossings. The 20th century focused on moving vehicles through a city. The 21st is focused on moving people through a city, and DDOT has been on the forefront.

by tamborineman on Jul 19, 2011 10:53 pm • linkreport

@Daniel Wolkoff,

Here, here!

by ceefer66 on Jul 20, 2011 11:48 am • linkreport

Whose brilliant idea was it to run the H Street streetcar tracks along the CURBS instead of down the middle of the street? Did anyone stop to think about parking for the many businesses that line H Street?

Okay, so to hell with drivers - that's the mindset in the neourbanist "New DC" and we're beginning to get the message. But what about deliveries? They can't fit all of the trucks in the alleys. Does anyone really think the ingredients for your latte and microbrew are coming on the No. 6 streetcar?

by ceefer66 on Jul 20, 2011 11:57 am • linkreport

@Daniel Wolkoff and @ceefer66:

I predict a rather frustrating 21st century for you guys. I'm assuming you live outside of the District?

by oboe on Jul 20, 2011 11:58 am • linkreport

Okay, so to hell with drivers...

I find this descent into self-pity so out of character, @ceef. Anyway, you realize that there's still curb-parking on H Street, since the tracks run in the right-hand travel lane, not the curbside parking lane, right?

by oboe on Jul 20, 2011 12:00 pm • linkreport

@oboe,

"I predict a rather frustrating 21st century for you guys. I'm assuming you live outside of the District?"
------------------------------

Actually, I live in Maryland and own property in DC. I'm willing to bet I pay more DC property taxes than you do since you neo-urbs prefer to buy the new apartments (call them "condos" if you want) - if you aren't renting.

That said, I've got a much of a vested interest in the District as you do.

Anything else?

by ceefer66 on Jul 20, 2011 12:15 pm • linkreport

@oboe,
"I find this descent into self-pity so out of character, @ceef. Anyway, you realize that there's still curb-parking on H Street, since the tracks run in the right-hand travel lane, not the curbside parking lane, right?"
--------------------------------------
I used to cross H Street at 5th NE 5 days/week and I saw CURBSIDE tracks.

Now, perhaps that's the only area along H street that has them - I'll spot you that since I haven't driven the entire length. But even ONE block of curbside track is too much.

As for tracks running in "the right-hand travel lane", how are cars and delivery vehicles supposed to manage?

Face it. It was a STUPID plan, no matter how apologists try to spin it.The tracks should have run down the middle of the street with safety zones for stops, even if it meant - horror of horrors- widening the street.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for the streetcars and I'll be among the first to ride them - IF and when they're up and running. But stupid is as stupid does.

And people wonder why Courtand Milloy called them what he did. "Brain drain", my ass!

by ceefer66 on Jul 20, 2011 12:35 pm • linkreport

Actually, I live in Maryland and own property in DC.

Thanks, good to know my hunch was correct. I can understand why--as someone who makes use of our neighborhood streets primarily as a commuter cut-through--you might get upset that automobile users aren't prioritized above all other users.

As I said, though, you're living in a dream world if you think that those priorities won't re-balance as DC's demographics continue to inexorably change.

The whole trend of America's cities (actually the developed world's cities) has been pretty plain. I suppose DC could end up being the world's outlier, and reverse course completely. Good luck with that.

by oboe on Jul 20, 2011 1:03 pm • linkreport

"Thanks, good to know my hunch was correct."

As is very likely mine. You're a carpetbagger - who very likely grew up in the suburbs you disdain - who thinks the price of your overpriced dwelling gives you the right to run roughshod over the "natives" who just don't know what's good for them.

"I can understand why--as someone who makes use of our neighborhood streets primarily as a commuter cut-through--you might get upset that automobile users aren't prioritized above all other users."

You couldn't be more wrong.

When I come into the city it's for a purpose, not to merely pass through. And like I said, the fact that I'm a property owner - and a taxpayer, gives me the right to have a say. If you've got a problem with that, it's exactly what it is - YOUR problem.

"As I said, though, you're living in a dream world if you think that those priorities won't re-balance as DC's demographics continue to inexorably change."

You're the one in a "dream world", pal. You won't be the voting majority any time soon. As you learned last September, the "natives" still run the show. And they'll be around when the fad you're riding (and are over-estimating in permanent significance) has long since passed.

"The whole trend of America's cities (actually the developed world's cities) has been pretty plain. I suppose DC could end up being the world's outlier, and reverse course completely. Good luck with that."

So the on-going suburban expansion in European, Asian, Latin American,and Australian cities is a figment of the imagination. Very soon, DC and every other city will be a mostly young and white vibrant urban paradise that will be the envy of the relative handful of idiots who insist on living in an "unsustainable" wasteland.

Thanks for clearing that up.

You always so smart.

by ceefer66 on Jul 20, 2011 3:23 pm • linkreport

Hey, everybody, can we keep this discussion about the issues, not about each other? Most of the other people reading really aren't interested in interpersonal squabbles, and it's not appropriate. Thank you very much.

by David Alpert on Jul 20, 2011 3:45 pm • linkreport

@David,

Point well taken. From now on, I will not read or respond to anything posted by oboe - at least nothing posted in response to my comments.

If making a snarky, insulting reply to anything I post is what makes oboe's day, he can have at it.

by ceefer66 on Jul 21, 2011 12:44 pm • linkreport

Please both Scott Kubley and Dan Tangerhlini bamboozaled the City into paying $140,000 for each to go to MBA program at Univ Penn. The left as soon as they were contractually able. Next both were arrogant and sorry to say "no great brains" Kubley knew nothing about Transportation and neither did Leah Treat the supposed Deputy Director of Resource Allocation. She worked at Dept of Real Estate Services as a Chief of Staff also a former DDOT person and she was quietly fired (reassigned back to DDOT) shortly thereafter. All of these individuals were arrogant, nasty and power obsessed. If they had the brains to back it up you might say well at least they were brilliant and knew the work. Ms. TReat's main concern while at Dept of Real Estate Services was getting home by 4:45 PM so her "nanny" could leave..and what size her office should be!....these individuals both knew Dan T. I am sure you can make the connections...... Treat was Dan T's former Executive Secretary suddenly smart enough under Fenty to go from a Grade 11 to a Grade 16 enough said.......Gab Klein well he somehow was a former partner at ZIP Cars who by the way garnered a multi-million dollar contract with the City when he was there...he leaves ZIP and becomes the Head of DDOT...enough said...........All of the issues Daniel Wolkoff lists are true and accurately stated...DDOT was a disaster under Dan T., Scott Kubley, Leah Treat, Lars Etzkorn, Gabe Klein etc. Mr. Bellamy was always good to work with when he was at MPD....good luck to him...as far as Gab Klein and Leah Treat in Chicago - God help Chicago -- the prediction is they will run that system into the ground in less than four years!

by Been There Seen it All on Jul 22, 2011 12:39 pm • linkreport

So, the individuals received their masters degrees and fulfilled the number of subsequent years agreed to for them to not have to pay back the money. I'm not seeing the problem. A scam would be if they left early and didn't pay it back.

by tickytape on Jul 22, 2011 5:32 pm • linkreport

The issue is not that they "contractual" fulfilled their obligation...the issue is they were morans that the City should have never paid to send to an EMBA program and they took up space never worked the long hours, never treated other employees (not hired by Fenty) with respect/dignity and worst of all what exactly did Mr. Kubley accomplish on his own merit and leave to the city that is useful and meaningful for the $140,000 investment and high salary he received -- NOTHING. The streetcar is effed up as are the bike issues, street lights and yes best of all I noticed no mention of the ethical issues with shifting grant monies and capital dollars to programs not fully funded because they weren't approved and to salaries for Fenty folks whose work and knowledge did not warrant the wages given...........face it this guy-Scot Kubly and Leah Treat deserve to be sent to Chicago --Good Riddance don't let the Metro Door hit you in the behind!!!-- although in Chicago they will get their behinds kicked if they try half the arrogant nonsense they tried in DC -- that would be worth the price of a plane ticket!!!!!!!!!!

by Get Real on Jul 22, 2011 5:48 pm • linkreport

Observation of deliverables shows that DDOT has accomplished more in the past several years than almost any municipal transportation department in the country. You seem to have a personal vendetta spraying far and wide more than providing any substantive critique. So be it. Everybody has an opinion.

by tickytape on Jul 22, 2011 6:55 pm • linkreport

Tickytape -- Please outline in bullet points what real, measurable and substantive changes that are longlasting District Residents gained from Mr. Kubly's tenure and/or Mr. Tangerhlini's. I know neither from adam but did see them first in action and they represent everything we all absolutely complain we DO NOT want in public officials...they both were arrogant, social climbers and in Mr. Kubly's case an actual brain is needed to have "brain drain" he was a friend of the Dan T. and Fenty and was given posts that perhaps they thought he could handle....like so many other Friends of Dan T and Fenty....they were all smoke and mirrors with expensive degrees (some the District paid for) a sense of entitlement and little respect or real dedication to the citizens they were engaged to represent...their interest in DC Government was to use it as a springboard or stepping stone for the next great notable position...look at Dan T. and well wasn't Scott Kubly thinking of running for DC Council...yes and he has decided not to why...WAY TOO MANY SKELETONS in his closet...that will all come when election time comes around!!!! This is not personal more matter of fact and with a question again, what real measurable, sustainable and significant longlasting changes did Mr. Kubly and/or Dan T. make for the city that was worth the City paying for their EMBA's at $140,000 per degree.......or worht calling Mr. Kubly a CZAR of Streetcars........any insight/guidance is appreciated....no offense meant to anyone in this...but enough "puff and stuff" and time to really take a good hard look at what we say we want from government and the reality of actually what we get!

by Get Real on Jul 23, 2011 9:59 am • linkreport

I'm willing to have a discussion, but when you ask for evidence on one hand and then insist a fully functional human being - one with a graduate degree from the Ivy League no less - literally does not have a brain, you reveal that your emotional rants are driven by personal vendetta rather than substance.

I'm not going to delve into the addressing your various attempts at character assassination, but suffice to say the proliferation in recent years of bikelanes and bikesharing infrastructure, sustainable road redevelopment with LID and other runoff prevention measures, car sharing infrastructure, expanded bus and eventually streetcar systems designed to supplement Metro, improved pedestrian protection and access measures, and increased online / mobile access to schedules and routing is evidence enough that DDOT and its staff have accomplished quite a lot that the residents of DC have both demanded and appreciated.

What people do with their career choices beyond their contractual fulfillment at DDOT is really beyond my scope of interest. If your primary issue is that people move to different agencies or companies to improve their opportunities or that people are brought in from elsewhere for a period, all I can say is welcome to the 21st century.

I'd rather not continue this discussion given its focus on wild accusations and emotion. Thank you and have a nice day.

by tickytape on Jul 26, 2011 5:09 am • linkreport

Agreed, SJE: Ken: can you provide more information to back up the title of your post. A few people over a period of time is not per se a brain drain.

Did the writer do any research about other agencies: DCRA, DPR, DCPS? Or is he too narrowly focussed on DDOT because of some misplaced obsession with a few individuals? There are a lot of talented people in the District and our gov't. We need to get away from the personality cults and focus on policies that improve our lives and stay on budget.

by @CCCAPrez on Jul 26, 2011 10:20 am • linkreport

CCCAPrez and Tickytape

Well they say to be a grown-up is to admit when your wrong. You both are correct emotional rants I suppose do not always have a place but at times it is difficult when you see actions first hand and see individuals being pegged "genius." However, for those who have worked directly with Scott Kubly we have witnessed him making comments that did not demonstrate an "Ivy League" education and also did not show leadership or any level of sophistication that we all scream we want from our politicians and government leaders. Unfortunately, the opinion personally and professionally of Mr. Kubly is less than favorable because of what I and many others could factually attest too witnessing while working with him. That said, yes there are many talented and dedicated individuals in DC Government in many many Agencies some who lost their jobs to less experienced and qualified individuals under Fenty Admin because they were not a "family, frat or friend." If Gray is doing the same its wrong also and so there is no biased in these comments. I suppose it is offensive to many of us that have seen the quality of Mr. Kubly's work firsthand to see articles of what a genius he is when we saw none of it demonstrated while working with him as he was happy to take credit for others hardwork and yes that we did see. I also would note that an IVY LEAGUE education does not necessarily make an individual genius or any smarter or more qualified than any other MBA. Interestingly enough, hardwork, drive and integrity are rarely if ever mentioned with regard to Mr. Kubly. In Mr. Kubly's case since those who worked with him also held Ivy League EMBA or MBA's, it does not take as much genius to get into the Wharton EMBA program simply takes the cash and a connection or two but mainly the cash! However, the Wharton MBA program is extremely more competitive and much more selective - Dan T. would have made the cut Mr. Kubly would not have made the cut. Mr. Kubly, Ms. Treat and others made their jobs at DDOT all about the "personality cults" (read Ms. Treat's biography about changing the culture of the Agency -- What culture???) most employees simply wanted to come to work do the best job possble and go home to their families. They made the work environment like "survivor island" for no reason other than their own egos! On the job, both of these individuals exemplified a management style that would have been easily laughed out of the door especially at Wharton's EMBA program. Perhaps, they both have learned from their past mistakes and we can all hope have both changed tactics but that was not the case prior. Again, I do not see one example of Mr. Kubly's own intellectual genius or accomplishments in either email. I also do not see a mention or defense of the GRANT and funding appropriation irregularties under Mr. Kubly or Ms. Treat each well documented in Washington Post City Paper etc....and learned from Mr. Dan T...with his secret jostling of 2008 Insurance monies to make it look like he was balancing the District's budget in 2008. If Mr. Kubly is as a stellar individual as both writers outline than a rant would never have the ability to "character assassinate." However, if Mr. Kubly is as "smoke and mirrors" as all of seen "all things come to the light" eventually.

by Smoke and Mirrors on Jul 26, 2011 12:06 pm • linkreport

Shorter Smoke and Mirrors:


Blah, blah. Class resentment. Ivy League education is expensive. Non-specific, unsubstantiated rant. Blah. Possible complain about having to work too hard. Ivy League. Ivy League. Blah.

Well, I can say that I for one am convinced. V. compelling stuff.

by oboe on Jul 26, 2011 12:18 pm • linkreport

oboe -- No class resentment but interestingly enough you raise the issue....for those of us also Ivy League not really certain how Scott Kubly got admitted to "the club" as they say...oh yeah -- back doored it riding the tail of Dan T....besides those worthy of it don't need to use that as their only redeeming quality or identity.....please share any "compelling" stuff you may have particularly about the street cars...oh yeah, sorry....where are the street cars again and how much will they cost....

by Smoke and Mirrors on Jul 26, 2011 12:40 pm • linkreport

Last I heard it was 2013. Given that they're intended to form the basis of a light-rail network that will be a long-term part of the city's fabric, I don't really care if they're delayed for a year. Sometimes it's important to have a long-term vision, rather than being stuck in a myopic rut that DDOT has been in for decades.

I know there are a lot of old-timers at DDOT who think it's a waste of time if the department is doing anything other than filling potholes, or cobbling together grammatically incorrect road signs, but we're going to need more than that in the decade(s) to come.

by oboe on Jul 26, 2011 12:47 pm • linkreport

OBOE -- I am surprised your best defense is trying to slice down "old timers" ....as an Ivy League newtimer to DC government and an agency the "old timers" had valuable input worth listening too.p[rovided you weren't too arrogant to listen. why? they had been through the Barry's, Williams, Fenty's etc... administrations and saw all the "new ideas" never ever come to fruition for any number of reasons...Dan T. started rail cars under Williams Admin so Scott Kubly is not a CZAR of the program....the date is 2013 now interesting....it was 2012 last week....and under Fenty 2011.....and it is incorrect to label all "old timers" as you have but I suppose that goes for those not intellectual enough to form a cohesive government structure and arrogant enough to believe a simply Ivy league identity is enough....the only class warfare is from those too egocentric to know otherwise..and still no "compelling" examples.......

by Blah Blah Blah on Jul 26, 2011 1:02 pm • linkreport

@Blah Blah Blah,

It was your alter-ego who brought up the streetcars.

.please share any "compelling" stuff you may have particularly about the street cars...oh yeah, sorry....where are the street cars again and how much will they cost....

You're right, I thought the reference to streetcars was an irrelevant dodge, too. The idea that we're possibly a year or two behind on what will be a multi-decade long big infrastructure project is not particularly worrisome.

As anyone with any experience in an urban DOT would know.

by oboe on Jul 26, 2011 1:42 pm • linkreport

OBOE -- and still no real compelling examples simply more blah blah blah and it would seem there is no room for an alter ego as yours completely takes up the blogisphere .......by the way 20 + years of experience teaches one that "possibly a year or two behind on what will be a mult-decade long big infrastructure problem is not particularly worrisome." says it all.

If infrastructure is the issue all those who really know are blatantly aware there are a heck of more "worrisome" infrastructure and other issues for DC that need attention way before a streetcar system......for example how about good clean tap water without fear of lead or poisons ...crumbling DC government buildings....affordable housing solutions particularly for the elderly...homeless shelters for those in transition etc........lowering the staggering unemployment rates in the District with real jobs programs aimed at long-term solutions...........but why venture here when there is still more "smoke and mirrors" left with the street car shenanigans...gosh with all Mr. Kubly's genius now unemployed and out there surely there are millions of crumbling, cash strapped cities just dying for his expertise on how to spend x number of $$$ on a streetcar program that has already taken 12 (+) years to be implemented.

by Blah - Blog on Jul 26, 2011 2:07 pm • linkreport

@Commenter with several names and an ax to grind with Scott Kubly:

I have struggled through your many ellipses to try to tease out anything of substance you have said. You have provided no evidence other than to say, repeatedly, "people who have heard him will know!" So either say something useful or don't say anything at all. You've provided over 1500 words with no substance, and yet demand that others respond to you.

by MLD on Jul 26, 2011 2:24 pm • linkreport

MLD -- Again, what did Mr. Kubly accomplished in his own right while at DDOT that was worthy of such praise? The responses are the same "jargon" and buzz words he too used while employed at DDOT which held no substance. No Ax to grind just can't take a positive turn to this guy and was really hoping someone had something so enlightening to bring out on his accomplishments that maybe things could be left on a positive note but 1500 (+/-) words later....dead air and still no "compelling" examples provided by anyone..you are right enough said he is simply another bureaucrat DC can probably do without...hopefully Chicago does not get stuck with him

by Blah Blah - No Ax on Jul 26, 2011 2:41 pm • linkreport

@MLD:

Either say something useful or don't say anything at all. You've provided over 1500 words with no substance, and yet demand that others respond to you.

Excellent point. And quite telling that "Blah Blah / No Ax / Smoke And Mirrors" still has nothing but innuendo, hand-waving, and the "debacle" of some H Street streetcar rails that were laid early to take advantage of the disruption during the Great Streets program, but which now look like they'll only be a year behind schedule rather than slightly ahead of schedule.

Oh, the horror!

You know, the funny thing is, a year or so ago, I was fairly neutral on the subject of Klein, Tregonning, Kubly and the rest of these guys. But every time you hear a critique of their work here and elsewhere, it's so suffused in petty personal resentments, and so completely devoid of any particulars, that after a while you come to realize this kind of bitter anonymous chatter is more of an endorsement of their stewardship than anything else.

Surely if there were a valid, rational critique we would have heard something other than "Oh noes! Kubly didn't go back in time and stop the Williams administration from buying those Czech streetcars for the Anacostia line, and that's why he's responsible for the one-year delay on the H Street line!!!"

by oboe on Jul 26, 2011 4:13 pm • linkreport

I am not familiar with the others you reference but Mr. Kubly was petty during his tenure yet he should not be defined by it...if you hear it constantly there is a reason and again the story is that Dan T. his former boss and mentor bought the czech cars which was a disaster for another day..but fact check that it has been awhile...Mr. Kubly is not solely responsible for the delay per se...he simply was not an effective leader at DDOT and the fact that no one can detail otherwise says it all...the truth is truth...sorry if your his friend nothing personal maybe he has some good qualities missed while working shoulder to shoulder with him at DDOT.....

by Blah Blah - No Ax on Jul 26, 2011 4:43 pm • linkreport

It's now clear that our friend blah blah blah simply believes, ideologically, that funding should be spent on other issues. For many, a multi-modal tranportation system is the critical thread that brings our communities together, fosters investment, creates jobs, and gives people access to their jobs without having to buy an expensive car. Much of DC's growth in recent years is due to the fact that you can live car-free.

It's fine to have different views, but there's no reason to assassinate the characters of individuals who simply worked toward a different vision than yours. There are more mature ways of handling such ideological disagreements.

by tickytape on Jul 26, 2011 9:32 pm • linkreport

Tickytape - There is again no character assassinations simply facts...Mr. Kubly's actions during his employment clearly speaks for itself as outlined by a prior bloggers own words that Mr. Kubly is not well thought of by many....which is taken by that blogger as he must of been really great and the ton of naysayers all wrong and biased.......The point is not one ideological view over another...it is about an article that provides a clearly false impression of Mr. Kubly's abilities, accomplishments and level of integrity.

by Blah Blah - No Ax on Jul 26, 2011 10:35 pm • linkreport

Fact 1: Your credibility disappeared when you accused another person of not having a brain. Character assassinated.

Fact 2: This article never said he was the next Feinman. He had a strong vision for the city, moved several projects forward successfully, and put the extra time in when necessary. I don't know what else you want out of a public servant. As a result of hundreds of people's efforts, DDOT has accomplished a great deal (not all perfectly, mind you) for which credit cannot be divied up.

Anyway - enough. I know your view. This article's about to fall off the edge of GGW and I hope that happens soon.

by tickytape on Jul 27, 2011 7:01 pm • linkreport

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