Honkin' Mad

Why did this Fort Worth transit official abruptly quit, then lash out on Twitter?

TEXRail could soon expand to southwest Fort Worth

Trinity Metro, the local transit agency, wants to take advantage of all the buzz created by the opening of the TEXRail commuter line, and possibly extend the trains to Fort Worth's medical district in three years. Another stop could be added at TCU.
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Trinity Metro, the local transit agency, wants to take advantage of all the buzz created by the opening of the TEXRail commuter line, and possibly extend the trains to Fort Worth's medical district in three years. Another stop could be added at TCU.

A Trinity Metro official who abruptly resigned last week took to Twitter over the weekend, accusing the leadership at Fort Worth’s transit agency of fostering a hostile work environment.

Linda Thornton left her post as vice president of marketing and communications early last week. Her resignation will be effective this coming Saturday, although she is no longer in the office, Trinity Metro officials said.

On Friday afternoon, Thornton posted a series of messages on her personal Twitter account.

“Does your organization host a hostile working environment? One indicator is repeated tongue lashings directed to colleagues or direct reports,” Thornton wrote. She then added in a follow-up tweet: “Oh forgot. @TrinityMetro.”

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A screen shot of Linda Thornton’s tweets

Scott Mahaffey, chairman of the Trinity Metro board, declined to elaborate on what led to Thornton’s resignation, other than to confirm she had resigned. He categorically denied there was any hostility in the Trinity Metro offices, and he knew of no specific lingering workplace problems related to Thornton.

“We cannot comment on personnel matters related to Trinity Metro employees,” Mahaffey said in a phone interview. “There are no issues. Linda was a valuable member of our team.”

After her first tweet Friday, Thornton followed up with a tweet aimed at Jon-Erik “AJ” Arjanen, who joined Trinity Metro in April as vice president and chief operating officer for rail.

Thornton, whose Twitter handle is @LindaLdThornton, mentioned Arjanen by his Twitter handle and wrote: “@AjArTX We can have a conversation — one that is appropriate — here in this space — and one in which I don’t have to look for a way to escape your temper tirade. So ... your very important point was.”

Arjanen couldn’t be reached immediately for comment. A Trinity Metro spokeswoman said Arjanen told her he did not want to discuss personnel matters.

Thornton posted another tweet Sunday: “I have a video ‘apology.’ Abusers are always sorry after the fact aren’t they? So much ‘tidier’ for them. And leaves the victim with the onus of having to forgive and forget. Guess what? I am not going to forget. Ugly is ugly.”

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A screen shot of Linda Thornton’s tweets

Thornton also tagged Visit Fort Worth, Downtown Fort Worth Inc. and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price in her final tweet.

Thornton had only been at Trinity Metro a little more than a year. She was instrumental in the planning of a New Year’s Eve celebration of the opening of the TEXRail commuter line connecting downtown Fort Worth to North Richland Hills, Grapevine and DFW Airport.

The celebration featured an ice sculpture and involved dignitaries from all the cities and DFW Airport, who took part in a champagne toast under an enormous tent on airport property.

TEXRail opened to the public Jan. 10.

Gordon Dickson joined the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1997. He is passionate about hard news reporting, and his beats include transportation, growth, urban planning, aviation, real estate, jobs, business trends. He is originally from El Paso, and loves food, soccer and long drives.
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