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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Asleep at the Switch

That would be me.

Reference our Out Back Question of the Week from two weeks ago, and the answer, here, one would have thought I would have picked up that MBTA General Manager Daniel A. Grabauskas accepted a buyout on Thursday.

For $327,487 only, the MBTA board made Mr Grabauskas go away.  On the other hand, the Commonwealth's Transportation Secretary, James A. Aloisi Jr., recognizes that to fix the MBTA some crockery is going to have to be broken.
Aloisi said he would meet next week with David D’Alessandro, the former John Hancock chief executive who will lead a “top to bottom’’ review of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The review, Aloisi said, will be finished by Nov. 1, when the merger of state transit agencies is set to be complete. Aloisi continued to leave open the possibility that fare increases proposed by Grabauskas would not be implemented.

“We’re in a time of changing the status quo,’’ he said. “And that’s a good thing. There are no sacred cows.’’
We can only hope.

In the mean time, the amount of the settlement—the amount remaining on Mr Grabauskas' contract—seemed high to some.
"It’s financially irresponsible," said Senator Steven C. Panagiotakos, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. "If you have good cause, fire the guy. If you don’t, let him serve out his time and earn his money. For the taxpayers and toll payers to have to foot this bill is just totally irresponsible."
On the other hand, when you try to push people around they sometimes push back.  The fact is, the MBTA Board didn't have the votes to actually fire Mr Grabauskas.  In the words of reporter from The Globe:
In a high-stakes stare-down, Grabauskas won a significant payout, $327,487, that Patrick administration officials did not want to pay. That’s because, during a chaotic, closed-door negotiating session of the MBTA board, administration officials failed to persuade enough board members to fire or put Grabauskas on leave, which would probably have led to a smaller settlement.
I don't think the Patrick Administration was rally ready to take on Mr Grabauskas.

In the mean time, Mr Grabauskas can be preparing himself to run for state-wide office near year, as a Republican.  It would not be his first such run.

Regards  —  Cliff

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