Suspended bus operator paying drivers still on the road, but the school district won't pay him
N.L. English school district says operator's suspension means he can't be paid
The operator of a busing company whose student transportation contracts were suspended by the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District in February says the district is using his buses and drivers but not paying him.
Six weeks after the suspension, Josh Gladney says the district has been using his buses and drivers to continue their routes — and while he's paying his drivers, he isn't getting paid for their work by the district.
"I've had to get a couple of loans and I've, you know, used all my resources. So I'd just like to know what's next," Gladney said.
"I've got another small fleet of buses purchased that I committed to buy before this happened, and some other deals that I've made that may or may not happen now. So you're looking me look bad to suppliers and that kind of thing. So that's been hard."
Gladney's Bus Service was under contract to transport more than 4,000 students at 20 schools on the northeast Avalon Peninsula until February, when the district suspended 54 contracts with the business, citing safety concerns.
An incident involving a Gladney's bus fatally hitting a pedestrian on Feb. 8 did play a role in the decision, according to district CEO Terry Hall at the time. Hall said it wasn't the only factor but didn't elaborate on other concerns.
To make sure there wasn't a break in service for students and their families, Gladney says, he agreed to let the district use his employees and buses but hasn't received a cent for them.
Mr. Gladney and Gladney's Bus Service haven't been providing this service since we suspended, and continues not to provide the service.- Terry Hall
On Friday, Hall says Gladney can't be paid because his company isn't the one providing the service.
"Mr. Gladney and Gladney's Bus Service haven't been providing this service since we suspended, and continues not to provide the service," Hall said.
"This particular contractor was suspended from providing service in February. So if you're not providing services, we can't pay him. We're paying other contractors who took any of these routes and are performing them…If they have an agreement with Mr. Gladney … that's between other contractors."
Without getting into specifics, Hall said the suspension came from compounding issues with respect obligations set out in their contract with Gladney's, including legislative requirements for inspections and documentation for drivers, routes and safety plans. Gladney's buses are being used by other contractors, which Hall said can be done as long as the buses are shown to be safe.
Hall also challenged Gladney's claim that the district asked for his drivers and buses, saying other third-party contractors came forward to fill the routes.
A review of Gladney's Bus Service is ongoing.
"Service just reached a point that unfortunately we made our decision to review the entire operation to get us back to some comfort. And that's what we're going through right now," Hall said.
Gladney says he wants clarity from the district in the hopes of restoring his reputation and business.
With files from Peter Cowan