T hires GLX manager at $280,000 base salary

With add-ons, his annual salary could top $382,000

THE MBTA ANNOUNCED on Monday that it has hired a Chicago-based construction official to oversee the $2.3 billion Green Line extension into Somerville and Medford, paying him a salary that far exceeds what anyone at the T is currently earning.

John Dalton, a Chicago-based vice president at Arcadis NV, a Netherlands  design, engineering, and management consulting firm, will work for the T as an independent contractor under a five-year deal that will pay him a base salary of $280,000 a year plus $57,777 a year in lieu of a benefits package. He will receive a $20,000 signing bonus, relocation expenses of up to $40,000, and be eligible for an annual “success bonus” of up to $44,800 a year.

Under the terms of his deal, Dalton could earn a total of $442,577 in his first year on the job. In future years, if he meets all his milestones, his annual pay would be $382,577.  By contrast, Gov. Charlie Baker makes $151,800 a year, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack earns $161,500, and the T’s chief administrator, Brian Shortsleeve, is paid $175,000. Dalton will report directly to Shortsleeve.

Shortsleeve announced Dalton’s hiring at a Monday afternoon meeting of the Fiscal Management and Oversight Board, but T officials were mum at that meeting on what Dalton would be paid. At about 6 p.m., a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation called with the details of Dalton’s salary package.

T officials have been saying repeatedly in recent months that they will have to pay much higher salaries to attract talented managers, but Dalton’s financial arrangement is the first real glimpse at how high the paychecks may go.

The hiring of Dalton, who has experience overseeing large, complicated transportation projects, is expected to ease federal concerns about the T’s managerial capacity to handle such large projects. He previously  oversaw a $203 million, 42-month construction project for the Chicago Transit Authority. Before that, while working for another private firm, he was the deputy program manager on a $7.6 billion rail project in Dubai. He worked at the Chicago Transit Authority from 2002 to 2007; he earned his MBA at DePaul University in 2005.

John Dalton hired to oversee Green Line extension.

John Dalton hired to oversee Green Line extension.

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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.

The hiring of Dalton is another signal that the T is moving ahead with the Green Line extension, which stalled when the pricetag ballooned from $2 billion to $3 billion. The project’s costs have now been pared back and the federal government, which has yet to sign off on the new design and release the $1 billion it had previously committed, has been concerned whether the T has the internal management capacity to pull off such a large project.

Joseph Aiello, the chair of the T’s Fiscal Management and Control Board, called the hiring “another  critical milestone” on the Green Line extension project.