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