T to accept donations, workers from businesses

Money would be used to recruit, retain employees

THE MBTA’S FISCAL AND MANAGEMENT Control Board indicated on Monday that it plans to accept money and loaned workers from Massachusetts businesses to aid in the recruitment and retention of employees and the management of the authority.

The board green-lighted a T staff recommendation to appoint a coordinating group to develop policies and guidelines for use of the donated money and to write regulations covering loaned employees.

The idea of private sector help was initially broached last year by the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, a group of powerful CEOs from many of the state’s largest corporations, including Suffolk Construction, Partners HealthCare, Fidelity Investments, Eversource Energy, and Bank of America. At a meeting of the board on Monday, state transportation officials detailed plans for a recruitment and retention fund bankrolled by Massachusetts businesses and a program that would allow firms to embed their own employees at the T for stints as long as 18 months.

Robert Garrity, chief of staff to Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, offered no estimates of how much money or how many employees would flow to the T under the program.

Garrity said the fund, which would be managed by a T employee, could be used to help recruit and train new employees and retrain existing workers. Under the employee loan program, workers would continue to be paid by their employer while they work at the T.

“The intent of both of [the programs] is to give us more bandwidth,” said Pollack.

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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.

Garrity outlined a number of ethical concerns that would have to be addressed as the initiatives move forward. He said fund donations and expenditures would be publicly reported and the fund manager could have no links to anyone donating money. Loaned employees would have to abide by state conflict-of-interest laws and would not be allowed to work on issues of interest to their employers.

A slide presentation for the Fiscal and Management Control Board said loaned employees would not be used to supplant existing employees. “This is not a strategy for reducing MBTA headcount, but instead for bringing in new talent for a short period,” the presentation said.

  • Paul O’Donnell

    Let’s see how many private sector companies step up to the plate. I’m guessing not too many.

  • While the MassHealth Budget hits $14 billion and rising. MBTA riders who pay for MassHealth by going to work and paying taxes should have much better service. MBTA ranked dead last in the USA for clean and reliable transit due to under funding. SEPTA spends more than the MBTA when you take out debt.