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      Ottumwa City Council to approve recommendation for transit director

      It looks like the interim boss of the Ottumwa Transit Authority will become the new boss.

      The Ottumwa City Council will consider the recommendation of city staffers to hire David Silverio as the full-time director.

      The transit director oversees the daily operation of the city's bus system and works with the 1015 Regional Transit Board to provide bus services for ten counties in Southeast Iowa. If Silverio is approved, he won't be a new face to the organization.

      "He's been interim since December 2012, he's served as operations manager of Ottumwa Transit since January 2012," said Joe Helfenberger, Ottumwa City Administrator. "He's worked closely with the Iowa Department of Transportation, which has confirmed his good working relationship with the Iowa Department of Transportation staff."

      As of now, the recommendation is just that -- a recommendation -- and the city council will have to officially approve the decision at its February 5 meeting.

      OTA has seen its share of bad publicity over the past few years. A 2011 audit by state transportation officials led to the dismissal of the previous director, Pam Ward.

      A grand jury alleges that she knowingly inflated ridership numbers in order to be obtain federal grant money for OTA.

      Ward has pleaded not guilty to the charges and her trial is scheduled for later this year.

      Ward's successor, Diane Gawronski, resigned from the position in December.