After second budget error, HRT shakes up leadership

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A new budget issue for Hampton Roads Transit has caused a shakeup in leadership.

This time, an accounting error leaves this fiscal year $1.3 million short of the supposed budget. In response, there’s a big leadership change at the top.

Everyday dozens of buses run through the downtown and midtown tunnels. What you may not know is for that, Elizabeth River Crossing pays Hampton Roads Transit.

“Improving public transportation was part of their (ERC) project,” CEO of HRT William Harrell said. “So they support specific route between Norfolk and Portsmouth.”

CEO of HRT, William Harrell, said that money goes into HRT’s yearly budget. But, this year when HRT factored the money into the budget it was actually $1.3 million less than what the budget included.

“HRT staff and our internal auditor, it was not an external audit, addressed this issue,” Harrell said.

The audit found an issue in the finance office. Which means the budget for this year will be short that money.

“Relative to the budget, the cities won’t see any change in service,” Harrell said.

This is the second budget error we’ve reported to fall at CFO Brandon Singleton’s feet. Harrell said it’s time for a change. He demoted Singleton this week.

“I think his strengths will be much better in the current capacity that he is in,” Harrell said. “Which is to support the budget not be in the decision making role.”

10 On Your Side asked William Harrell does he feel the pressure of two budget errors? Is he on the hot seat?

He said president and CEO you always feel the pressure.

“I certainly have a 31 year history in the public sector and I intend to continue to work hard to gain the trust of those who may not have it,” he said.

Harrell said the good news is they caught this early in the fiscal year; the first quarter. The board can make adjustments. Next month he is presenting a plan to the board to correct the error.

In place of Singleton, Harrell promoted former Portsmouth and Hampton Controller Sylvia Shanahan. Shanahan has worked at HRT in the finance department for several years.