Union blasts Baker on armored car sunroofs

Union blasts Baker on armored car sunroofs

Governor stands by claim as a sign of bigger problems

MBTA WORKERS BLASTED Gov. Charlie Baker for asserting someone at the agency cut sun roofs into two armored cars which the union said were in the vehicles since they were delivered two decades ago and that the governor was using the anecdote to rationalize his push for privatization.

“For the past several months, Governor Baker and MBTA leadership have repeatedly released reports that denigrate hard working employees in an attempt to justify outsourcing their jobs,” MBTA Carmens Union President James O’Brien said in a statement. “But this week Governor Baker himself resorted to pure fiction… These trucks have the exact same roofs from when they were purchased two decades ago. This baseless allegation is proof that this Administration will do anything to try to justify privatization.”

Earlier this week during a State of the T address on the one-year anniversary of the creation of the Fiscal Management and Control Board, Baker ripped off a litany of what he said were issues indicative of deep-seated problems at the embattled agency. Among those, he said, was the decision by someone at the T to install sunroofs on two of the armored trucks used to transport money.

The union provided pictures of the armored truck they said fit the description of what Baker was referring to. O’Brien claims the trucks were delivered from the manufacturer that way and no changes were made by MBTA workers.

The inside of a MBTA armored car used to transport money shows a plastic or fiberglass panel that had been installed in the roof.

The inside of a MBTA armored car used to transport money shows a plastic or fiberglass panel that had been installed in the roof.

It appears there is some type of translucent panel over the back half of the truck roof held down by metal strips riveted around the edges. Pictures from inside show the panels above what appear to be metal crossbars. A spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation did not respond to several requests for comment but earlier in the week a spokesman said the plastic panels were removed and replaced with metal panels.

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Jack Sullivan

Senior Investigative Reporter, CommonWealth

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is a veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

A Boston native, Jack has lived in Massachusetts all his life. He was a major in English and history with a minor in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A father and grandfather, he lives in Plymouth with his wife, Susan.

About Jack Sullivan

Jack Sullivan is a veteran of the Boston newspaper scene for nearly three decades. Prior to joining CommonWealth, he was editorial page editor of The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, a part of the GateHouse Media chain. Prior to that he was news editor at another GateHouse paper, The Enterprise of Brockton, and also was city edition editor at the Ledger. Jack was an investigative and enterprise reporter and executive city editor at the Boston Herald and a reporter at The Boston Globe.

He has reported stories such as the federal investigation into the Teamsters, the workings of the Yawkey Trust and sale of the Red Sox, organized crime, the church sex abuse scandal and the September 11 terrorist attacks. He has covered the State House, state and local politics, K-16 education, courts, crime, and general assignment.

Jack received the New England Press Association award for investigative reporting for a series on unused properties owned by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and shared the association's award for business for his reporting on the sale of the Boston Red Sox. As the Ledger editorial page editor, he won second place in 2007 for editorial writing from the Inland Press Association, the nation's oldest national journalism association of nearly 900 newspapers as members.

At CommonWealth, Jack and editor Bruce Mohl won first place for In-Depth Reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors for a look at special education funding in Massachusetts. The same organization also awarded first place to a unique collaboration between WFXT-TV (FOX25) and CommonWealth for a series of stories on the Boston Redevelopment Authority and city employees getting affordable housing units, written by Jack and Bruce.

A Boston native, Jack has lived in Massachusetts all his life. He was a major in English and history with a minor in political science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A father and grandfather, he lives in Plymouth with his wife, Susan.

Baker’s spokesman said an independent probe determined the sunroofs were installed after they left the manufacturer and said the issue was indicative of systemic problems at the agency and, especially, the “money room” whose operations the fiscal management board is seeking to privatize.

“The facts are clear: the money room’s operations are sub-par at best, from the alarms to the doors, and to the trucks, it is clear the status quo cannot continue at the MBTA and efforts to keep things the way they are will never deliver the service that riders deserve,” Baker press secretary Billy Pittman wrote in an email. “The Governor’s remarks are consistent with the MBTA’s independent security advisor’s report which found armored truck roofs had been altered after market and the administration will continue to reform the MBTA with every tool available, including the authority granted by the legislature to utilize outside experts in order to deliver the level of service that riders deserve.”