Members of the Philadelphia Regional Limousine Association face off with Matt Daus over a column that detracted from their legislative efforts.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Matt Daus, the former Commissioner of the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission and now head of the International Association of Transportation Regulators, apologized to Philadelphia operators Monday for an August column that attempted to undermine their efforts to resolve regulatory problems.
Daus told PHILADELPHIA REGIONAL LIMOUSINE ASSOCIATION president Philip Jagiela and members of the PRLA board that he was sorry for any ill chosen words in the column which ran in the August issue of Black Car News, a monthly industry tabloid for the black chauffeured vehicle industry, and any resulting problems it caused for the association.
The PRLA has been diligently working with Pennsylvania state legislators to pass two bills that would place rule making responsibilities of Philadelphia (and state wide) area operators exclusively under the Public Utilities Commission. The legislation would allow the PPA to be the enforcement arm of such properly created regulations. Those operators now must answer to both the PUC and the Philadelphia Parking Authority, resulting in more rules, higher compliance costs, and bureaucratic hassles.
Daus’ column sided with PPA authority of the operators, setting off a pointed response from Jagiela and Philadelphia operators affected by the dual regulatory structure. No other operators in Pennsylvania must contend with double regulatory layers. Daus further stated that he wrote the column on behalf of the IATR at the insistence of his board to support the PPA.
The meeting was held in a small conference room of the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino during the annual Limousine Digest Show and Conference. It drew industry supporters of both the PRLA and Daus. After airing out their differences, both sides shook hands and agreed to put the matter behind them. Daus said he will stay out of PRLA affairs.
The bottom line:
• While Daus apologized, he told the PRLA that his dual role as IATR president and as a transportation attorney for Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf of New York prevents him from making public testimony on behalf of the PRLA or further commenting on the matter in the form of a retraction. [UPATE 11/15: However, Daus offered to meet with any legislator who told them that he or she wouldn’t support the bill because of the article he wrote.] Daus is viewed by many New York and New Jersey operators, including the Limousine Associations of New Jersey, as a valuable liaison between operators and regulators given his experience as a former regulator now working in private practice for transportation clients. Daus has been marketing his expertise to the transportation industry despite citing the conflict of interest in his role as president of the IATR, which appears to be a convenience to him.
• Neil Weiss, publisher of Black Car News, has declined to print any full rebuttals from the PRLA to the original column, nor accepted offers from the Philadelphia Regional Limousine Association to print a rebuttal in the form of a paid advertisement. [UPDATE 11/15: Weiss said that he offered to publish summarized key points of the PRLA's lengthy rebuttal in a shorter written article, but that the PRLA declined. He also said he didn't want to accept money for a news article].
• Philip Jagiela said that despite the column and ensuring rancor, the two bills in question — House Bill HB2434 and Senate Bill SB759 — retain their legislative sponsors and will be reintroduced to both chambers once the new legislature is seated in January following the Nov. 2 election. Any misperceptions about the legislation created by the opinionated inaccuracies of Daus’ column can be corrected through lobbying and correspondence with legislators and staff.
PRLA MATT DAUS BACKGROUND ARTICLE HERE
— Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine