Williamsburg Area Transit Authority Appoints Interim Executive Director

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William Porter (Courtesy WATA)
William Porter (Courtesy WATA)

The Williamsburg Area Transit Authority Board of Directors voted unanimously Wednesday to name William Porter the interim director after Kevan Danker’s resignation from the position last month.

The board said little before or after the vote, which took place at a regular board meeting at the Quarterpath Recreation Center.

Porter, a former assistant county administrator for James City County, began serving in the interim role April 6. Plans for finding a permanent replacement for Danker have not yet been announced.

WATA provided a copy of Danker’s March 18 resignation letter to WYDaily. It does not specify a reason for the resignation. In the letter, Danker says he is voluntarily resigning from the position effective March 19, and he will be taking professional leave from that point until July.

Danker’s contract contained a section dealing with resignations, noting he could have ended his employment for any reason by providing 30-day written notice to the board. That section of the contract guaranteed compensation for those 30 days as long as Danker fulfilled his responsibility, and it also entitled him to compensation for accrued vacation and sick leave.

His separation from WATA has followed a different path, with professional leave starting the day after the resignation letter was submitted.

According to minutes from the March 18 meeting where he submitted his letter, the board decided to compensate him through July. The contract references James City County’s Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual as a guide for offering compensation to departing employees, and that document allows supervisors to grant exceptions to the vacation and sick leave policy to those who do not provide at least two weeks notice of a departure.

Porter declined to comment on Danker’s compensation as it is a personnel matter.

Danker served as executive director of WATA from August 2012 until his resignation. During his time as director, the transportation service implemented several new programs and changes, including a service that allows riders to track the location of buses in real time, a route serving the Jamestown area, a new design for future buses, and changes to the trolley and bus routes.

A review of WATA’s ridership numbers does not show any dramatic gains or losses during Danker’s tenure other than a decline in ridership during the last two Februarys, however those months were marked by several severe snow events which affected service. In all, 75,794 people rode the bus in February 2013 compared to 65,706 in February of this year.

Danker’s contract with WATA, which paid him $95,000 per year, did not include any specific performance incentives. His resignation came on March 18, 13 days after the board conducted a performance review of Danker’s work.

Porter has 38 years of experience working in local government, including a 12-year stint as the Assistant James City County Administrator. He retired from that job in September 2008.

He will take over as the interim chief administrator of a bus service that operates throughout James City County, Upper York County and Williamsburg. It also connects to Surry County and Newport News.

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