T report recommends management, oversight changes

Backs a board to directly oversee agency beyond 2020

THE MBTA SHOULD REVAMP its top management structure and a board should continue to provide direct oversight of T operations after 2020, according to a draft strategic report issued on Monday by the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board.

The T’s current management structure calls for two coequal leaders  – a general manager and a chief administrative officer. The former general manager stepped down in June 2016 and the chief administrator, Brian Shortsleeve, has since then been doing both jobs.

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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.

In its strategic report, the T’s oversight board said the agency should be run by a single CEO/general manager along with two aides – a deputy general manager for administration and another deputy for infrastructure and operations. State officials are currently looking to hire at new CEO/general manager.

The Fiscal and Management Control Board was scheduled to go out of existence next year, but has agreed in principle with a request from Gov. Charlie Baker to stay on until June 2020. The strategic plan said the board in 2020 should be replaced with a new and permanent board with direct oversight of the T. In past years, the T had been managed by a larger board overseeing all of the state transportation bureaucracy.

“The complexity of the MBTA’s operations requires a board dedicated to providing oversight and policy direction,” the strategic plan said. “While the final configuration of such a board will need to be determined by future legislation, the FMCB strongly recommends the continuation of a separate board for the MBTA.”