MARTA board spends nearly $150K on business psychologist

by: Richard Belcher Updated:

Belcher asked board member Jim Durrett if the board had indeed received complaints about Scott.

Channel 2 Action News has learned the MARTA board spent nearly $150,000 on a business psychologist after employees complained general manager Beverly Scott's management style was abusive.

Channel 2's Richard Belcher discovered there's also no written record of what the psychologist found.

The board hired the business psychology company in direct response to employee complaints about Scott.

Belcher found the board paid the psychologist at least $144,000, but what the board learned remains a secret.

However, well-placed sources tell Belcher employees at all levels of the agency accused Scott of a management style that was well over the line.

On the phone, Belcher asked board member Jim Durrett if the board had indeed received complaints about Scott.

"I'm not going to answer that," Durrett told him.

"Did the psychologist confirm the reports of abusive behavior by Dr. Scott?" Belcher asked.

"I'm not going to confirm that, and I'm not going to deny that. I consider it a personnel matter," Durrett responded.

Dealing with complaints about a $300,000-a-year public official is no routine personnel matter.

But the MARTA board didn't even demand a written report. Belcher was only able to track down a few documents.

They show MARTA paid the company and Dr. Terry Dockery $24,000, followed by another $100,000 for an additional eight months of work in 2011.

Altogether MARTA paid the company $144,000.

One objective was to "engage Dr. Scott in discussions about the effectiveness of her management practices and style," one document stated.

"It's both sad and comical," said Rep. Mike Jacobs, who chairs the state legislative committee that oversees MARTA. "That we need a psychological analysis of the person who, you know, runs such a large operation, both in terms of employees and the number of dollars it handles, is really kind of scary."

Jacobs added when you spend a large amount of money, you expect some results. But there's no indication we'll ever know what those unwritten results were.