Baker aide attends T board executive session

Kadish, a T fixture, stirs speculation with visit

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER’S chief of staff attended a private, executive session of the MBTA’s oversight board on Monday, stirring speculation that a candidate for the T’s general manager’s post was being interviewed.

Members of the Fiscal Management and Control Board and several MBTA staffers declined comment on the executive session, which lasted close to two hours and interrupted the public portion of the meeting. An individual was definitely coming to the executive session because Joseph Aiello, the chairman of the control board, mentioned during the open session that he was awaiting someone’s arrival.

The control board’s agenda said the executive session was scheduled to discuss “strategy related to nonunion personnel, collective bargaining, real estate, and litigation.”

Steven Kadish, Gov. Charlie Baker's chief of staff

Steven Kadish, Gov. Charlie Baker’s chief of staff

Brian Shortsleeve, the T’s chief administrative officer and the acting general manager, wouldn’t answer when he was asked whether he is a candidate for the general manager’s post. He said only that he is focused on improving the T.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Steven Kadish, the governor’s chief of staff, came a little late to the executive session but his presence suggested the control board was dealing with something of importance. Kadish, however, is no stranger to state transportation officials. He practically worked at the T during the winter of 2015, when the transit agency was crippled and shut down by winter storms. Kadish pitched in to help the agency battle back and has remained heavily involved ever since.

With the creation of the control board and Baker’s appointment of the five members, the governor effectively took control of the MBTA. Whether the agency demonstrates improvement and how it handles privatization efforts are likely to be key issues in the next campaign for governor, which may explain why Kadish has remained so heavily involved. The governor’s transportation secretary, Stephanie Pollack, also attended Monday’s executive session.