Massport narrows CEO field to 2

This story has been updated.

The Massachusetts Port Authority will decide between finalists Brian Golden and Lisa Wieland as the next chief executive of the quasi-public agency that oversees three airports, Boston seaports, and a substantial real estate portfolio.

A former state representative from Boston, Golden has been chief executive of the Boston Planning and Development Agency since 2014, and he has held top positions in the US Department of Health and Human Services from 2007 to 2009 and at the state Department of Telecommunications and Energy before that. Wieland is an internal candidate who took leadership positions at Massport starting in 2006, became chief of the Maritime Department in 2013, and rose to the position of port director in 2015. She also has a background in news, having worked for CNN through much of the 1990s as an assignment editor.

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, Worcester Sheriff Lew Evangelidis, and Teamsters Local 25 President Sean O’Brien made up the screening committee, and Evangelidis announced the selection at Thursday morning’s meeting of the Massport board. The seven-person board, which is almost entirely made up of Gov. Charlie Baker’s political appointees, plans to deliberate next week when the board could choose its next chief executive.

“We expressed full confidence in these finalists. We believe they’ve demonstrated the skills that you have set out for us to find to be the next leader of Massport,” Evangelidis told the board.

John Pranckevicius, the acting CEO who had been a candidate, will return to his position as chief financial officer. The vacancy at the top of the agency was left by Tom Glynn, who left last year after a widely celebrated tenure.

A Boston Globe editorial last fall credited Glynn with adding 20 new international destinations from Logan, and boosting traffic 30 percent at the authority’s three port facilities in Boston Harbor – handling containers, automobiles, and cruise ship passengers. Columnist Adrian Walker credited Glynn with insisting on minority participation in major real estate deals.

Women and people of color applied for the top Massport position and one candidate of color made it to the penultimate stage before Thursday’s public announcement of the finalists, a white man and white woman.

“It is not as diverse an industry as I would like it to be,” said Pollack, referring to the transportation sector’s lack of both racial and gender diversity.

Boston Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld reported both of the finalists’ names – among others – last week, quoting sources who told him Pollack favors Wieland. Other alleged contenders floated in Battenfeld’s column were Michael Capuano, who worked on infrastructure issues in Congress, and Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll.

Glynn may have helped Massport shed its historic reputation as a patronage dumping ground, but the agency has a checkered history. Battenfeld was a key player in perhaps the most salacious and mysterious episode since Massport’s creation in 1956.

As recounted by Jack Sullivan in CommonWealth half a decade ago, Battenfeld was part of a team of Herald journalists who in the summer of 1999 tailed then Massport CEO Peter Blute aboard the Nauticus for a workday cruise and tour of Massport property.

When passengers pointed out that the people aboard the Nauticus were being photographed from another boat, passenger Gidget Churchill lifted up her shirt for the camera, creating tabloid history.

There was a second boat also tailing the Nauticus that day, Sullivan reported, and Blute, whose Massport career ended with the scandal, believes he was set up, but Churchill denies she was part of any plot.

Massports’ leaders no doubt hope that incident is relegated to the history books, serving as an example of the bad old days, even if Blute was as innocent as he claims. Looking toward the future, Massport plans to retrofit Conley Terminal to handle even bigger ocean-going container ships, accommodate Logan Airport to serve the growing number of passengers who use it, and contribute to Boston’s economy through development of its 650 acres of property in South Boston, East Boston, and Charlestown.

The big question now is who Massport chooses to lead.

ANDY METZGER


BEACON HILL

Gov. Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey write a  joint letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, responding to claims by the head of Purdue Pharma. (State House News)

A MetroWest Daily News editorial urges lawmakers to move slowly and carefully in amending the state’s open meeting and public records laws. Lawmakers are looking at revisions after complaints about Ronald Alexander, a serial filer of complaints, who was profiled recently in CommonWealth.

The House voted to let Massachusetts farmers grow hemp on agricultural land. (MassLive)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Former House speaker Sal DiMasi, whose effort to register as a State House lobbyist is being challenged by Secretary of State William Galvin because of his federal corruption conviction, has registered as a municipal lobbyist with Boston City Hall, a bid that could also face trouble when a five-member Lobbying Compliance Commission meets next week. (Boston Globe)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Should ICE detention centers be called concentration camps? Miles Howard offers his perspective. (WBUR)

ELECTIONS

Joe Biden was supposed to be the “comfort food” candidate of the 2020 presidential race, but he’s getting harder to swallow, says Joan Vennochi, after comments at a New York fundraiser where he talked fondly of getting along with two segregationist Southerners back in his Senate days. (Boston Globe)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

A new New Balance factory is coming to Methuen. (Boston Globe)

The Massachusetts rental price burden is higher than it is in New York and Washington, DC. (WGBH)

A deal Quincy city councilors struck this week with private developer FoxRock Properties to usher in the next phase of development in downtown leaves lingering questions about the fate of a 15-acre site on Hospital Hill where that same developer wants to construct one of the city’s largest-ever residential developments. (Patriot Ledger)

EDUCATION

Lawyers for Civil Right and the NAACP delivered a letter to the Boston School Department that could be a prelude to a lawsuit challenging the system for admission to the district’s three exam schools if changes aren’t made that promote greater black and Hispanic enrollment at the schools. (Boston Globe)

Students owe the Northampton Public Schools lunch debts totaling $22,469, and former Northampton residents Mary and Ronald Grimm have agreed to pay $20,000 of what is owed. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)

The lawyer for the former superintendent of schools in Lowell says his client is going to sue over his termination. (Lowell Sun)

WGBH has a well-done, in-depth multimedia look at the closing of the West Roxbury Education Complex in Boston.

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and South End Community Health Center will join forces, with the East Boston center acquiring the South End clinic. (Boston Globe) The head of the East Boston center, Manny Lopes, was a guest recently on a “Health or Consequences” installment of The Codcast.

ARTS/CULTURE

Be Studios, a coworking and event space geared toward photographers, opens in Worcester. (MassLive)

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts hosted a Juneteenth celebration commemorating black liberation from slavery, an event held against the backdrop of an investigation of possible civil rights violations by the museum being carried by attorney general following an incident involving back students visiting from a Boston charter school. (Boston Globe)

The director of MassMOCA in North Adams is expected to plead not guilty to motor vehicle homicide. (WBUR)

TRANSPORTATION

Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu, in an op-ed, says municipalities need a seat on the government board overseeing the MBTA. (Boston Globe)

Lynn Mayor Thomas McGee, who formerly was the Senate chair of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, says transit-oriented development is possible in his city but first the transportation system has to move from the 19th century to the 21st century. McGee spoke at an event hosted by MassINC. (Daily Item)

The MBTA plans to move a layover commuter rail station in Bradford after two decades of complaints from neighbors over noise and fumes. (Eagle-Tribune)

Cape Air is on course to become one of the first commercial airlines in the world to operate an all-electric aircraft on its regional routes. Eviation Aircraft, a startup company based in Israel, has announced Cape Air would be its first customer. (Cape Cod Times)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A new report from the Center for Climate Integrity estimates the cost for Massachusetts to protect its shoreline amidst climate change will be $18 billion. (Gloucester Times)

Boston’s first “zero waste” plan has been released, setting an 80 percent recycling rate target by 2035 and 90 percent by 2050. The current citywide recycling rate is 25 percent. (Waste Dive)

CASINOS

From toxic dump to gleaming casino palace, you can even swim now in the Mystic River at Encore Boston Harbor. (CommonWealth)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Authorities in the Dominican Republican say Red Sox legend David Ortiz was shot in a case of mistaken identity, with the actual target a man he was sitting with whose cousin has ties to drug trafficking. (Boston Globe) Skepticism about the official version seems to abound in the country, with many quickly pointing out that Ortiz and the supposed target look nothing alike. (Boston Globe)

The alleged victim in the Kevin Spacey sexual assault case says he can’t find a key piece of evidence — his cell phone, which has been the focus of many motions and arguments. The judge ordered that it be preserved in January. (Cape Cod Times)

MEDIA

New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger pens an op-ed that appears not in his own paper but in the Wall Street Journal lambasting President Trump for his attacks on a free press that included a recent charge of treason against the Times.

The Berkshire Eagle republishes an Associated Press story on the Berkshire Eagle’s “fight to save local journalism.” The Eagle was bought from Digital First Media (see more on its approach below) and returned to local ownership three years ago. Since then, jobs have been added and print circulation, down 15 percent the first year, has stabilized while online subscriptions are up.

Media News Group, also known as Digital First Media, bought the Reading (Pennsylvania) Eagle at a bankruptcy auction and has informed the state it plans to lay off 81 employees, more than a third of the workforce, at the company’s various operations. Locally, Media News Group  owns the Boston Herald and the Lowell Sun. (Morning Call)