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The Worst Example
One of the most prestigious Business Schools in the country, The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, is currently offering as part of its curriculum a class titled “ How Not To Run a Corporation”, and it uses Amtrak as its model.

It starts with the unusual, unique, and arguably illegal manner in which Congress created Amtrak, and then proceeded  to treat the company like its own private little play thing, with little regard, if any, for the purpose for which it was intended, and with no concern for those tax payers who would ride and pay for the nationwide railroad, and were told it would be the most advanced and best passenger service in the world.

Martin R. Roberts, PH.D and Professor Emeritus at the Wharton School, has written a text book which is utilized for the class, and highlights the absurd, ridiculous, and totally unacceptable manner Amtrak has been operated for over thirty years, by a parade of totally inept and unqualified Corporate Officers, and upper level managers, not the least of which have been the Amtrak Presidents who were merely Congressional puppets who acquiesced to Congress on every subject and policy, with little concern for Amtrak’s passengers or employees.

Professor Roberts points out that Amtrak could have never survived, had it been a real corporation, and had to operate as such, and cites several Supreme Court Decisions that have stated unequivocally that Amtrak is not a “corporation” under any State or Federal definition, but rather a Government Entity.

He also stated that Amtrak’s Corporate Officers, who have come and gone by the dozens, and managers in key positions, lacked even rudimentary business skills and possessed no understanding of rail transportation needs or the advancing technology of passenger rail service.

This totally unacceptable performance on the part of Amtrak Management has resulted in the continuing loss of hundreds of millions of dollars, unsafe operating conditions, a lack of strategic planning, and a rail passenger service that ranks at the bottom of the list of passenger services around the world, including a number of third world countries.

 Employee loyalty and morale is non existent.  

A survey of all employees conducted by a private consulting firm, at Amtrak’s request, indicated that the greater majority of all employees liked their jobs, but hated the company, and the way they were routinely treated by management.

Professor Roberts stated that the most successful, and profitable companies in the United States, not coincidentally, are ones with the best employee morale.

Roberts reiterated that had Amtrak been a real corporation, with corporate officers who were held accountable for their actions and performance, or lack thereof, and stock holders who would never have allowed the company to be run to the edge of bankruptcy on a continuing basis as Amtrak has done for over thirty years, the future of passenger rail service in this country would be considerably brighter than the status that now exists.

Roberts also makes the point in his text, and to his students, that Congress derives untold benefits, the majority totally unrelated to passenger rail service, by keeping Amtrak alive, if only barely.

Lavish dinner parties and entertainment staged at Union Station in Washington, private trains to sporting events and countless other extravagances are charged off to Amtrak.

Congress reaps the rewards, and the taxpayers foot the bill and have to contend with sub-standard rail service.
Same as it ever was................

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