The iron fist of Massport

Who would have thought Logan Airport and Massport would be the gold standard for airport operations?

Perhaps we’re just too close or too jaded to give credit to a state agency but the New York Times used the Massachusetts Port Authority as an example of how to keep a transportation hub working even after a major winter storm.

The Times compared how Massport responded to the January “bombogenesis” that shut down much of the East Coast compared to how Kennedy International Airport was paralyzed for nearly a week after the super storm dumped a foot of snow. In the comparison, Massport and its management team led by CEO Thomas Glynn came out on top not only by getting the airport running the next day but by taking in a half-dozen flights that had been scheduled to land at Kennedy.

“Why were the experiences at these two major American airports, separated by only about 200 miles, so dramatically different?” the Times story asks. “The answer may be that, though both airports are run by public authorities, they are managed in far disparate ways. At Logan, the Massachusetts Port Authority, known as Massport, maintains near-complete control; at Kennedy, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has shifted much of the management of its terminals to airlines and other private companies, leaving the bulk of the responsibility for dealing with emergencies out of the agency’s hands.”

You can bet Massachusetts transportation unions are glomming on to that statement about privatization. In the story, Glynn touts strong “top-down” management of Massport in keeping the planes running.

“Top-down management is sort of out of fashion these days,” Glynn said. But “top-down management works here and it works because people have respect for those at the top.”

Massport, like its transportation cousin MBTA, has not always been viewed in the kindest of lights for its management around here, whether it’s because of who was in charge or by frustrated travelers who have been delayed.

Last summer, Logan upgraded one of its main runways, causing a spike in delays. Glynn said it was long overdue but acknowledged there’s never a good time to undertake a major infrastructure project.

“Like any other thing in the infrastructure world, it has to be done,” Glynn told the Boston Globe last May. “It’s always, for an airport, a rough period to get through, and passengers have a right to be very angry and annoyed.”

Logan also went through a period a few years back during the renovation of its terminals that caused complaints about lack of signage and directions but that has seemed to smooth out. The airport is planning another round of upgrades to its international terminal and it appears they’ve learned their lesson about pre-construction communication.

Massport, like a referee or umpire in football or baseball, is doing its best job when it’s not in the news and that has been the key for the last couple years. Unlike the daily onslaught of bad news regarding the state’s transit system, when is the last time you can really remember a lingering issue at Logan or the Black Falcon Terminal or any of the other Massport-run entities? Been awhile.

Maybe the agency could loan Glynn to the MBTA. Oh, wait…



The Baker administration raises concerns about the latest compromise on the Safe Communities Act. (State House News)

We’re Number 8! Massachusetts drops back from the top of the U.S. News & World Report annual rankings of Best States.


Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi says the available evidence raises doubts about the story of the woman accusing former Boston official Felix Arroyo of sexual harassment. “With #MeToo as the contextual backdrop, power has shifted enormously in these cases,” Vennochi said. “Men used to have the upper hand, but for now, that’s no longer true. In Arroyo’s case, his accuser’s identity is protected. He’s exposed. She’s working. He’s not. She’s believed. He’s doubted. Is that progress or another kind of injustice?”

New court documents in the federal extortion case against two top aides to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh say organizers of the Boston Calling music festival felt threatened by demands from the city officials to hire union labor workers. (Boston Herald)


Boston Globe columnist Margery Eagan marvels at the public’s unwillingness to hold President Trump accountable for his philandering.

Trump said he would have run into the Parkland, Florida, school to stop the shooting massacre even if he didn’t have a weapon. (New York Times)


Rep. Evandro Carvalho drops his bid for a state Senate seat in order to run for Suffolk County district attorney. (CommonWealth)

Stephen Kerrigan drops out of the crowded race to replace US Rep. Niki Tsongas in Congress. (Boston Globe)


Avid Technology of Burlington ousts CEO Louis Hernandez Jr. over allegations of inappropriate conduct in the workplace. (Boston Globe)

Public sector unions rally in Boston as the US Supreme Court takes up a case challenging a union’s ability to assess non-members for services. (Boston Globe)


Schools in Haverhill, New Bedford, Quincy, Taunton, and Lowell are lauded for reducing their dropout rates by more than 50 percent. (Eagle-Tribune)

George Simpson was fired as head of school at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School for unspecified misconduct. (MassLive)

Tom Birmingham and Ken Campbell say it’s time to embrace reform that can get Boston’s long-struggling technical-vocational high school on track. (CommonWealth)

A new report by The Education Trust says schools with the highest rates of poor students do not get the funding they need. (U.S. News & World Report)


The state is closing the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in Jamaica Plain and moving its inpatient services to Boston Medical Center. (Boston Globe) pays $480,000 to settle allegations that its background checks on caregivers were not as thorough as the company promised. (Boston Globe)


Steven Poftak, the vice chair of the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board, said the transit authority needs to focus on projects in the pipeline over the next several years before giving any thought to seeking new revenues. (CommonWealth)

A new poll paid for by the Barr Foundation indicates voters want more money for the state’s transportation system but aren’t willing to pay higher taxes to supply the funds. (Boston Globe) The poll itself, however, does find support for tolls earmarked for regional congestion, regional ballot questions for transportation funding, and fees on wholesale gasoline sales with the proceeds going to transportation. One example of transit desire: Expanded commuter rail service from Boston to the cities of Springfield, Fall River, and New Bedford. (MassLive)

South Coast lawmakers are urging Gov. Charlie Baker to put a representative from their region on a new advisory board for the future of transportation in the state. (Standard-Times)

T notes: Is Keolis starting to turn a corner? MBTA paratransit customers love Uber and Lyft — maybe too much. Silver Line service speeded up at D Street. (CommonWealth)


Mark LeBel of the Acadia Center said Massachusetts is dragging its feet on grid modernization. (CommonWealth)

Cape officials joined elected leaders in condemning President Trump’s plan to allow off-shore drilling and exploration for gas. (Cape Cod Times)


The Cannabis Control Commission bows to pressure from top political leaders and puts off action on home deliveries and pot cafes. (CommonWealth)

Pesticide-tainted pot forces suspension of sales at Georgetown dispensary run by Healthy Pharms. (State House News)


Prosecutors asked a federal judge to bar defense attorney Howard Cooper from representing Brian Joyce, saying the former state senator entangled him in a  coverup. Defense attorney Max Stern, who spoke on Cooper’s behalf, said the government’s move is a threat to the “constitutional rights of any defendant.”(Boston Globe)

A Taunton High School student who had been suspended was arrested and held without bail after threatening to get an assault rifle and “put 100 rounds into this f—— place.” (Taunton Gazette)

Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. and Baker administration Public Safety Secretary Daniel Bennett are accused in an arrest report scandal. (Telegram & Gazette)

A tense taped confrontation between a black man and a Boston police officer in Fields Corner draws the police department into another race-related encounter. (Boston Globe)

State and local officials and prosecutors unveiled a pilot program to steer low-level drug offenders into treatment and get them out of the criminal justice system. (Patriot Ledger)

A lawyer representing one of three people arrested in Framingham during a response to a domestic disturbance report said officers “misinterpreted a normal family situation,” which was just people laughing at a television show, not screaming at each other. (MetroWest Daily News)


Telegram & Gazette columnist Dianne Williamson, one of the paper’s must-reads, is leaving the T&G and writing her final column this Sunday. On Facebook, she said “it’s kind of like ending a long relationship that you cherish but realize is no longer right.” (Worcester Magazine)

The Salem News plans to sell its building in Beverly and lease space elsewhere.