T control board taking control

Joseph Aiello, the chair of the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board, is understandably nervous.The estimated cost of bringing the T into a state of good repair just increased to $7.3 billion. The cost of the Green Line extension has ballooned $700 million to $1 billion more. And, even though the weather is beautiful now, winter is coming.

Even more troubling, no one at the T seems to know what to do. It’s as if top managers are waiting for the control board — five people who already have day jobs — to start issuing orders.

The board took a step in that direction on Monday.The board members agreed on the need to hire an outside consultant to find out why the cost of the Green Line extension spiraled out of control and why T managers seemed caught off guard. “I continue to be just extremely worried about how we got here,” Aiello said.

But Aiello seemed inclined to go even further. He said the board may need to explore more radical ideas, such as bringing in a receiver to run the Green Line extension project if a decision to move ahead is made.

Former governor Michael Dukakis told CommonWealth last week that what the T needs is a strong manager who can build a team capable of maintaining and expanding a transit system that is vital to the regional economy. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case for some time. As Gov. Charlie Baker’s own special task force reported in April, the T has had nine general managers since the job was first created in 1981. Six of them, including three interim appointees, have come in the last 10 years. The report said 10 percent of senior staff positions at the T are either vacant or filled by interim appointees.

Finding a strong general manager for the MBTA won’t be easy at an agency where so much is wrong, but the search will be even more difficult if the control board starts meddling in day-to-day operations of the agency.




Attorney General Maura Healey cuts a deal with the manufacturer of Narcan that will allow the state to stockpile doses at reasonable cost. (Eagle-Tribune)


Salem reflects on the 91 residents who overdosed this year, 10 of them fatally. (Salem News)

A group led by a Lawrence police officer who has had run-ins with city hall is mounting a recall effort against the city’s mayor, Daniel Rivera. (Boston Globe)

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh wants to ban unmarked replica handguns, which can be confused with real firearms, from being displayed in public. (Boston Globe)

Walsh says he’ll support a 13.7 percent pay increase for city councilors, which would boost their salaries from $87,500 to $99,500, but that may not be good enough for the council president, Bill Linehan. (Boston Globe) Earning $99,500 would be “like winning the lottery,” a Boston janitor who earns $9-an-hour told the Herald.

A proposed regional emergency dispatch center in Chelmsford would save money, but cost some existing town personnel their jobs. (The Sun)

Gloucester receives a $1.3 million federal grant to help homeowners remove lead paint. (Gloucester Times)


Revenue at the two Rhode Island gambling halls was down 3.8 percent in July following the opening of the nearby Plainridge Casino. (Providence Journal) Keno sales near the slots parlor are also lagging, Massachusetts Lottery officials say. (State House News)


The Globe‘s Jim O’Sullivan reports that the Greater Boston Labor Council’s annual Labor Day breakfast will feature a high-profile guest speaker — President Obama.

Speaking in Alaska, Obama paints a doomsday picture of what can happen if global warming is not addressed quickly. (Time)

The Supreme Court ruled a Kentucky clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses because of her religious objections to gay marriage has no right to deny the licenses. (New York Times)

Joanna Weiss says it’s only right that Alaska’s Mt. McKinley have its original Native American name, Denali, restored rather than nonsensically carrying the name of a Ohioan with no connection to North America’s tallest peak. Howie Carr thinks the renaming is a travesty and typical Democratic conspiracy — though he somehow missed that fact that the name change was actually driven by Alaska’s two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan. Meanwhile, the town of Adams, which features a statue of the 25th president, ponders its association with the man. And how much do you really know anyway about William McKinley? (Christian Science Monitor)

Planned Parenthood sues the governors of Alabama and Louisiana. (Governing)


A Pittsfield mayoral candidate goes on trial in December for threats against a municipal employee.

Some major GOP donors are holding back hoping Mitt Romney will jump into the race for a third run. (National Review)

With perhaps the sleepiest Boston city election in recent memory upon us, the Herald’s Matt Stout  checks in on one of the only real contests, the district council race pitting longtime incumbent Charles Yancey against 33-year-old Andrea Campbell, who, despite graduating from Princeton, getting a law degree from UCLA, and going on to practice law for several years, was nonetheless only a year old when Yancey was first elected in 1983.


Market Basket weathered a family feud and remains locally owned and profitable, but a Sun editorial notes that three other family businesses that sold out to national outfits have seen their workforces pared back dramatically.


Boston school officials say 125 teachers with tenure (and combined salaries of $10.5 million) will start the school year without classroom jobs because principals refused to hire them to fill vacancies. (WBUR)

Initial results from Common Core testing in several states show scores higher than expected but lower than what many parents are accustomed to seeing. But one of the program’s goals to compare results across states has not yet been met. (Associated Press)


Brigham and Women’s Hospital will trim its workforce by 100 positions to rein in costs that are rising faster than revenues. (Boston Globe)


The $6.7 billion needed to get the MBTA‘s trains, buses, and other infrastructure in good working order is now $7.3 billion, according to revised figures presented yesterday — and the number could go higher. (Boston Globe) A Herald editorial rolls its eyes at the latest T news and says it only reinforces the need to rethink costly expansion plans, including the Green Line extension and recently renewed talk of a rail link connecting North Station and South Station, which the paper calls “an exercise in complete fiscal insanity.”  Meanwhile, the MBTA control board discusses hiring a consultant to handle Green Line Extension cost overrun issues. (CommonWealth)

The MetroWest Daily News wants the Baker administration to apply the brakes to the Green Line Extension.


Gov. Charlie Baker pursues more hydroelectricity and natural gas in Canada. (Boston Herald)

Electricity and natural gas prices are at record lows in New England, and two officials allied with existing power generators say new subsidized gas pipelines aren’t needed. (CommonWealth)

September may prove to be shark month on the Cape as sightings of the fish have increased. (Cape Cod Times)

A new study says colorful plastics discarded by humans in oceans around the world pose an increasing threat to seabirds who mistake the trash for food. (New York Times)


Charges against Aisling Brady McCarthy, the nanny charged with the 2013 killing of a Cambridge 1-year-old under her care, have been dropped after the state medical examiner’s office said it no longer believed the evidence supported a finding that the child’s death was a homicide. (Boston Globe) Globe columnist Kevin Cullen says she should never have been charged in the first place.

The SJC delivers a welcome ruling on sex offenders, according to The MetroWest Daily News.

A video of a fatal police shooting in San Antonio appears to show the suspect was shot by sheriff deputies while he had his hands raised in the air. (New York Times) The unedited video is here.

Murder rates in more than 30 cities across the country have increased this year, topped by Milwaukee where the police department is run by former Massachusetts public safety secretary Edward Flynn. (New York Times)

A Brockton Superior Court judge has ordered a Brockton police officer to stay out of the courthouse except when testifying after the judge said the officer engaged in witness intimidation after arresting a man in the hallway who was to testify in a murder trial. (The Enterprise)

Civil suits filed against Daniel Flynn, a prominent Quincy real estate agent who is a close friend of Mayor Thomas Koch, offer a look at federal wire fraud charges stemming from an alleged investment scheme against Flynn. (Patriot Ledger)


A line in a Dan Shaughnessy column about Red Sox employees confiscating signs carried by fans entering Fenway last night in support of soon-to-be-ex announcer Don Orsillo was removed after being posted, leading some to question whether the John Henry ownership of the paper, team, and station came into play. (Media Nation))

Mic, an online news startup targeted at millennials, is starting to take off. (Business Insider)

Now online from offices in Malden, reports the Globe: Rebel News, a site focused on the world of activist hacking run by a member of the hacktivist group Anonymous. (Boston Globe)