ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- Rockland County Executive Ed Day announced the County's suspension of Richard Brega and the Brega organizations, barring them from bidding on future contracts, and the County is moving to end some current contracts before they expire.
Rockland is encouraging Brega to assign the remainder of its contract to operate and maintain the Transport of Rockland (TOR) and Tappan Zee Express (TZx) services to another company, according to a release from Rockland County. The County has the right to approve any new operator before service starts, the release said.
If Brega cannot do so, the County will expedite the procurement process for a new TOR and TZx contract and put it out to bid with the intention of entering into a new contract before Brega's $70 million contract expires in November, 2018.
"We are separating the County from Brega in an orderly way that maintains safe and reliable service to the nearly 10,000 Rockland residents who rely on this bus service each day," Day said.
Rockland has five contracts with Brega-related companies, according to the release. One of those contracts is with Brega Transport Corp. for the maintenance and operation of the TOR and TZx bus services. The Rockland Department of Public Transportation oversees that contract, which is partially funded by federal and state agencies.
The local suspension covers all contracts between the County and Brega, including the Department of Health's preschool and Early Intervention transportation contract, the Brega DOT Maintenance and Automotive Repair contracts, and the Brega Commercial Collision contract.
Brega was informed Tuesday of the County's action.
Rockland County officials took the step after they were informed last Friday that the Federal Transit Administration had suspended Brega Transport and its related companies, the release said.
The federal agency noted that the FTA-imposed suspension would remain in effect while Richard Brega faces federal corruption charges related to contracts with Rockland BOCES.
"The charges against you raise serious questions about your present responsibility and make your immediate suspension and that of the companies you control necessary for the protection of the public interest," according to the letter.
The FTA's action could put federal funding for Rockland County's bus services at risk. The full impact of the federal suspension remains unclear.
Day said, "The criminal indictment against Richard Brega impedes his companies' ability to comply with the bus contracts and to provide all of the services that the County requires for its customers. We believe it is in the best interest of the County and residents who use this service to find another operator."
The FTA's action has no immediate impact on the county's ability to continue operating the TOR and TZx buses on their current schedules, according to the release. The action will delay start of the expanded TZx weekend bus service.
"The buses will keep running on the same schedules as we work toward an orderly transition to a new operator," said Day.
While the Rockland Department of Public Transportation already has in place a rigorous set of monitoring processes in the oversight of the TOR and TZx contract, following the recent indictment of Brega, the County implemented even more oversight and auditing activities to ensure the safety and well-being of the nearly 10,0000 customers we serve each day, Day said.