David L. Gunn

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

David L. Gunn, after serving three years as AMTRAK's president and chief operating officer, was fired November 9, 2005, after refusing to resign by "Amtrak’s four-person, Bush-Administration-appointed Board of Directors (only one of which—Chairman David M. Laney—has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate), released Gunn, saying that Amtrak 'needed to intensify the pace and broaden the scope of its reforms.' He was reportedly let go because of 'philosophical differences' with the Board, most likely a clash over the Board’s vote in September to authorize splitting off the Northeast Corridor, an idea backed by the Bush Administration. That apparently was the straw that broke the camel's back," Railway Age reported.

Paul M. Weyrich announced December 5, 2005, that Gunn had "accepted a position as an adjunct scholar with the conservative Free Congress Foundation. Weyrich, chairman of the foundation, is a "former member of Amtrak’s Board of Directors and also of the Amtrak Reform Council."

"In announcing David Gunn’s new position with Free Congress, Weyrich said, 'David Gunn was the best President Amtrak had in a long time. His firing, which was engineered by the White House, was a travesty. It suggests that the current Administration is out not to reform Amtrak but to destroy passenger trains in this country.'" [1]

Edward Wytkind, writing in the December 15, 2005, Baltimore Sun, concurs:

"Meanwhile, the [AMTRAK] board has operated without a quorum for several years, casting grave doubt on the legitimacy, if not the legality, of its actions, the most recent of which was the firing of CEO David L. Gunn, a 40-year rail professional. We had strong differences with Mr. Gunn's labor-management practices, but he has forgotten more about passenger rail than the three private-sector Amtrak board members combined have ever known. Mr. Gunn was fired because he refused to take a blood oath to carry out the 'kill Amtrak from within' strategy."


Prior to joining AMTRAK, David L. Gunn "served as Chief General Manager at the Toronto Transit Commission from 1995 until 1999. Managing the largest transit system in Canada, he led 10,000 employees serving 1.3 million daily passengers with a system of 1,500 buses, 650 heavy rail cars and 250 streetcars. In this position, he improved the system's cost recovery ration from 66% to over 80% and implemented a State of Good Repair Capital Program.

"Prior to leading the Toronto Transit Commission, Gunn was the General Manager for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) from 1991-1994. While at WMATA, Gunn developed the accelerated construction plan and initiated building of three of four remaining segments of the planned 103-mile rail system. Gunn also developed and implemented a multi year $1 billion capital rehabilitation program, and strongly improved productivity at the agency.

"Gunn was the President of the New York City Transit Authority from 1984 through 1990, and is credited for establishing strong fiscal controls, corporate goals and performance measures, while rebuilding track, railcar and bus fleets at the nation's largest transit system. From 1979 through 1984 Gunn was General Manager/Chief Operations Officer for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). In this position, he reduced the system's operating costs from $138 million to $97 million per year, while rebuilding and replacing its subway cars, buses, trackless trolleys, and trolley fleets. He also planned and negotiated the takeover of Philadelphia's 400-mile, 800-train-per-day commuter rail system from Conrail and Amtrak.

"Among Gunn's other past executive positions, he worked for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority as the Director of Operations in 1975-1979 and as Director of Commuter Rail in 1974-1975. From 1969 through 1974, Gunn was the Assistant Vice-President for the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad. He worked for the New York Central System in 1967-1968 and for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in 1964-1967 at the beginning of his career.

"Gunn graduated from Harvard College in 1959 and continued his education at Harvard Graduate School of Business, where he received his MBA in 1964. From 1959 to 1962, Mr. Gunn served in the U.S. Naval Reserve." [2]

External links


Articles & Commentary