Cobb transportation director Faye DiMassimo said she expects to fill the job within two months.
“We have applications in hand and are conducting interviews,” DiMassimo said. She does not have a preferred candidate in mind for the 65 people who applied for the job, she said.
Gutowsky retired Sept. 28 after more than a decade as the county’s transit manager. She notified her bosses on Aug. 12 that she would be retiring.
Both she and County Chairman Tim Lee said the parting was amicable.
“She was a very valued employee who performed very well through a very troubling time financially and delivered results when asked,” Lee said. “She is an asset we’ll miss, and we’ll wish her well on her retirement.”
As division manager, she earned $86,523 and oversaw seven employees, a fleet of 131 buses, and a budget of $18 million, county spokesman Robert Quigley said.
Gutowsky said one of the challenges her successor will have is funding CCT’s operations.
“If CCT is going to continue to grow, and it needs to grow, there’s going to have to be some mechanism for funding the service. The county cannot continue to put in the amount of money that it needs for the system to grow,” she said. “They’re sustaining it, but the growth is going to have to be funded through some mechanism.”
Southeast Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott said the county subsidizes CCT $9 million in this year’s budget.
Gutowsky said Georgia is one of the few states that do not help subsidize transit.
“I think the state really needs to step in and help fund transit in Georgia,” she said.
Lee wants to see the state involved as well.
“They need to be at the table and help us decide the future of transit in Georgia and how it gets funded,” Lee said. “They need to be involved in that conversation, and I would actually say they need to lead it.”
Gutowsky, who had moved from Indiana to run CCT operations, said she enjoyed watching the bus system grow under her leadership.
“We added a lot of express service thanks to the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority. We replaced the entire fleet of buses in the 10 and a half years I was there. Added a lot of technology that we hadn’t had previously, did a lot of renovating to the facility, added a customer service center, added new offices for the CCT staff, so there was a tremendous amount of growth over the 10 and a half years.”
Gutowsky said she is particularly proud of the $4.5 million mobility center now under construction on Commerce Park Drive, which will house the CCT staff and serve as a maintenance facility.
“It hasn’t been finished yet, but I think the mobility center would have to be something that I’m most proud of because I think it’s going to provide a lot of opportunities to enhance transit service in general to the public,” she said. “Another thing I’m really proud of is our new AVL, our automated vehicle location system that will be live by the end of this year. That is really going to revolutionize the way CCT operates and … make the whole CCT system much more user-friendly.”
The location system will allow transit riders to use a smart phone and see where their bus is.
Gutowsky and her husband, Robert, live in Acworth. She said they decided this was a good time for her to retire.
“I’ve been in transit for over 25 years, and you know, after a while — I don’t want to say you get tired of it — it’s just time for a change,” she said. “I loved every minute in Cobb County. It’s a wonderful place to live and work. I have no intentions of leaving Cobb County. I hope to stay in transit in some other capacity, perhaps consulting. We’ll see what the next road is.”