Healey shaking up MBTA oversight board

Puts Glynn in charge, adds McGee, Goodwine

JUST WEEKS after appointing a new general manager at the MBTA, Gov. Maura Healey is shaking up the transit authority’s oversight board.

Thomas Glynn, MBTA general manager under former governor Michael Dukakis and CEO of the Massachusetts Port Authority under former governor Deval Patrick, is replacing Betsy Taylor as chair of the board. Taylor is stepping aside.

Healey is also appointing Thomas McGee and Eric Goodwine to the board, replacing Mary Beth Mello and Scott Darling.

McGee was the mayor of Lynn from 2018 to 2022 and a former state senator who co-chaired the Legislature’s Transportation Committee from 2011 to 2018. Goodwine is a vice president at Rockland Trust in Worcester.

Healey’s secretary of transportation, Gina Fiandaca, automatically serves on the board, which means the governor’s appointees will fill four of the seven positions.

The MBTA board was formed in October 2021 after a previous oversight board called the Fiscal and Management Control Board went out of existence. The previous board met frequently and engaged in marathon sessions, bringing a lot of public attention to the MBTA but drawing criticism for taking up too much of the staff’s time.

Tom Glynn (File photo from Codcast interview.)

The new board, as Taylor acknowledged in a Codcast interview in December 2021, took a much more hands-off approach, meeting once a month and letting T staff set the agenda. “The hope is now that the T management and the staff can take a stronger role and the board can function more like the DOT board and less like the control board,” Taylor said.

Many transit advocates now think the current board has become too laissez-faire, showing little curiosity about MBTA policies and asking little of T staff.

As an example, MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng made a number of shocking disclosures about slow zones on Wednesday at an MBTA board meeting and how the T plans to address them. The board, however, asked almost no questions about Eng’s plan.

Glynn indicated he wants the T board to continue to meet once a month but be more assertive when it does meet.

“It’s time that the MBTA board takes on the sense of urgency that this crisis demands,” Glynn said in a statement. “We can’t settle for the status quo – we need bold action to meet this moment and address the challenges facing the T right now.”

The three remaining seats on the board are held by Robert Butler, the president of the Northeast Regional Council of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers; Chanda Smart, a businesswoman from Roxbury; and Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch, who chairs the MBTA Advisory Board.

The House, in its budget, proposed adding two additional members to the MBTA board – an appointee of Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and another member of the board who would be appointed by the governor.