General Manager of CATS light rail division placed on administrative leave

No reason for the admin leave has been given.
The head of CATS light rail department is on paid administrative leave.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 11:50 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The head of CATS light rail department is on paid administrative leave. This comes a little more than a week after another train car derailed, this time in the railyard instead of the main track.

Deltrin Harris was hired as the Rail Operations General Manager in December 2020 and was earning more than $160,000 per year, according to HR records. City officials have not said why Harris was placed on administrative leave.

WBTV previously investigated Harris and found a report from his last job that identified a “series of major ongoing issues” and claimed Harris directed rail controllers to “violate safety rules and procedures.”

More recently, a CATS employee who was fired after the May 2022 derailment filed a lawsuit against CATS and the City of Charlotte for wrongful termination. In the lawsuit, fired employee Terry Creech claims his boss at Charlotte’s light rail system (Harris) created an abusive, hostile work environment and concealed information about the May 2022 derailment.

Creech’s lawsuit claims he tried raising concerns about the stressful work environment and his abusive General Manager.

Creech’s firing exacerbated another problem, a shortage of controllers in the ROCC.

In a report on the derailment submitted in February, North Carolina Department of Transportation safety officials showed concern that Creech was the only controller on shift at the time of the derailment. After learning he was fired a state official wrote “now, a very seasoned Rail Controller is no longer with the agency.”

The lawsuit highlights that as the sole controller on shift, Creech was responsible for monitoring two city rail lines, both security feeds, and multiple storage yards.

On March 31st, an email sent from NCDOT to Cagle announced the results of a surprise inspection after an anonymous complaint was filed with the department about the continued practice of having only one controller working in the ROCC.

“Despite prior assurances received and CATS’ ongoing actions to address NCDOT’s required ROCC staffing related Corrective Action Plans, NCDOT has verified that scheduling a single ROCC qualified employee to oversee and manage all ROCC job duties, on various work shifts, is routinely planned,” the NCDOT wrote in its letter.