Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fixes

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Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fixes

Postby BandA » Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:33 am

This report came out yesterday. Can't find it referenced anywhere on this forum, so here is it's own topic. Please discuss.

Press release: MBTA Panel Calls for Fiscal Control Board, Multi-Year Plans To Fix Broken System
50 Page Report:Back on Track: An Action Plan to Transform the MBTA
Range of Scenarios Considered for Reform of the MBTA

Scenario 1: Modify Existing Governance Structure
–T is responsible for its own transformation with no new oversight
–Board is modified to provide greater accountability and control

Scenario 2: Fiscal and Management Control Board
–New oversight and management support
–Collaboration with Legislature, MBTA staff, unions, stakeholders
–Duration based on progress toward established goals
–Estimate of 3-5 years

Scenario 3: Receivership
–Unilateral oversight and management
–Power to reopen collective bargaining agreements to the full extent permitted by
the Constitution

Scenario 4: Abolition of MBTA and Creation of Successor Agency
–New MassDOT Transit Division
–MBTA employees transition to become Commonwealth employee


I would have recommended receivership, although the control board will probably work better.
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Re: Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fix

Postby rethcir » Fri Apr 10, 2015 4:37 pm

What is the difference between this "control board" Baker is pushing and the current MBTA board structure? I am just seeing a power grab here by Baker to get his own people in there.
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Re: Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fix

Postby ST214 » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:53 pm

Personally, I think the MBTA will be abolished and merged into MassDOT. There is just too much negative stuff that goes along with the MBTA name. Plus, you can get rid of all the clowns at the top at the same time. A new name, new identity, and new leadership will do the public just fine. The MBTA is too far beyond repair in its current state.
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Re: Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fix

Postby RailBus63 » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:47 pm

The report is pretty damning to Beverly Scott and other recent MBTA general managers. Poor project management and years before anything gets done, capital funds sitting around unspent while the system was literally falling apart, employees taking complete advantage of sick time and the Family Leave act causing thousands of missed trips - the list goes on and on. Changing the structure at the top is not going to do anything without a complete housecleaning in middle management and a new workplace culture. It's hard not to come to the conclusion that MBTA management has become such a dumping ground for political patronage that a 'don't rock the boat' mindset has taken over and this collapse was inevitable.
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Re: Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fix

Postby CRail » Sat Apr 11, 2015 3:00 am

They counted vacation time as "unscheduled absences," that's clearly to tilt the scale as vacations are not unscheduled and therefor have no reason to result in lost trips. They also counted things like Jury duty which is a legal obligation and out of anyone's control. Right there the integrity of the entire report is compromised in my mind as the data is designed to be misleading. Also, to directly attribute missed trips to attendance is wrong. Schools don't have empty classrooms when a teacher is out sick, they have a system in place to deal with that. The MBTA has such a system in place as well, but the trouble is that it has to be adequately staffed or it doesn't work. Paying overtime to current employees is a lot cheaper than hiring new ones. Attribute that to getting rid of firemen because you don't to pay them to sit around and then getting mad when no one shows up on overtime to put out the fire. This issue, like all of the others, falls on management and funding.

As far as sweeping the MBTA into MassDOT, look at how well that worked for the MTA and MassHighway. Still, a number of redundancies exist between the two. All we've done is eliminate toll collectors while allowing dead weight to cost the Commonwealth even more at the top. Our state agencies are top heavy and they engage in outrageous levels of bureaucracy costing us significantly. The amount of money spent just consulting about running service on a rail line that is currently in existence and active is evidence of that, as is the work being done to plan and design and replan and redesign (which is spelled out in the report regarding Gov't Ctr) is what needs to be clamped. Simply calling it "MassDOT" isn't going to change such practices.

What needs to be curbed is the ballooning costs which result from bad procurements (SLRVs, Type 8s, Neoplans, Rotems, and to be continued...) and deferred maintenance, alleviating problems caused by inadequate staffing, poor service patterns and designs resulting in compromised and less effective service (Ashmont Station is a key example), and eliminating redundant and ineffective executive positions instead of the boots on the ground which are obviously in high demand to get the service over the road. Stepping up fare enforcement would be a good idea too. Then there's the issue which the Baker administration paid this panel to downplay, the agency needs money!
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Re: Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fix

Postby djimpact1 » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:18 am

CRail wrote:Stepping up fare enforcement would be a good idea too.

Of course it would be...any respectful fare-paying rider wants enforcement made against evaders and piggybackers.

The issue I have is that fare enforcement typically gets placed alongside/mentioned in the same breath as equipment procurement & management problems, and though it is indeed a long-standing issue, it's one that should place low on the pecking order of organizational items to revamp (I.e. place initial/serious focus on fixing the Pacheco law restrictions & performing a management overhaul/restructuring with actual measurable results being produced before even mentioning ways to better enforce fare collection & evading issues)
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Re: Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fix

Postby Bramdeisroberts » Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:10 am

djimpact1 wrote:The issue I have is that fare enforcement typically gets placed alongside/mentioned in the same breath as equipment procurement & management problems


Is that really surprising to you, that the T employees want you to look past all of the issues with lazy labor, inept management, and a poisonous work culture from top to bottom?

Of course they're going to be ramping up the party line of "we need more money, fare enforcement is the REAL problem! Ignore everything else!". They see that big and sorely-needed changes are coming to what is easily the most dysfunctional major metropolitan transit agency in any major north american city (save for maybe "Dr." Scott's old roost, MARTA), and they're shaking in their boots.

I say bring it on, this city deserves far better than what the fine folks at the T have seen fit to provide us with, and it's about time shake things up so that the T matches the caliber of the other great industries and institutions in this town. Change is needed, change is good.
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Re: Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fix

Postby NH2060 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:12 pm

Gov. Baker requests that the entire MBTA board resign:
http://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/04/15/g ... sees-mbta/
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Re: Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fix

Postby BandA » Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:55 pm

NH2060 wrote:Gov. Baker requests that the entire MBTA board resign:
http://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/04/15/g ... sees-mbta/
If everyone resigns, will that give Baker de facto control, or will the board be unable to meet due to lack of quorum?
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Re: Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fix

Postby CRail » Sat Apr 18, 2015 4:43 pm

The vacancies get filled by people who will best serve Baker's agenda. Those who believe Mass corruption is over had better look up from their text messages because the bridge abutment is headed right for their hood ornaments at 80mph!

You think "Bramdeisroberts" sounds full of bitter hate now? Wait until the T is run by the company whose drivers refused to pick up Boston Public School students a year and a half ago. When the taxable income that's supporting the families of "lazy, inept, poisonous" members of the state's workforce gets diverted from the Commonwealth's economy to the owners of a conglomerate like Veolia or First Transit, wait and see how the service trends. The last time the Commuter Rail operated with any sort of reasonable reliability it was run by a corporation owned by the US Federal Government, not a board of shareholders.

I don't try to hide that I care about the employees of any labor force, especially those in the public sector and even moreso about those in the Commonwealth's public sector. Those who operate the service in which I take personal interest are naturally who I support the most. I also care about the service which is provided by the Authority I grew up being a fan of. This is why I'm frustrated to see the hard working men and women of our transit system getting dragged through the mud while people who really don't do anything except arrest progress are protected by the cubical walls they hide behind in government buildings. Those 6 figure salaries are the ones siphoning our precious tax dollars along with the consultants and engineers who design and plan for a project several times over before even breaking ground. It's not the guy who drives a bus for 60 hours a week and misses all of his kids' baseball games and dance recitals so they can be able to afford such a standard lifestyle any more than it's the same guy who takes the vacations contractually awarded to him so he can spend time with his family who he never sees, shows up to his legally required civic duty in court, and/or takes mandatory leave to serve his country in the military reserves.
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Re: Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fix

Postby Cosmo » Sat Apr 18, 2015 5:49 pm

CRail wrote:I don't try to hide that I care about the employees of any labor force, especially those in the public sector and even moreso about those in the Commonwealth's public sector. Those who operate the service in which I take personal interest are naturally who I support the most. I also care about the service which is provided by the Authority I grew up being a fan of. This is why I'm frustrated to see the hard working men and women of our transit system getting dragged through the mud while people who really don't do anything except arrest progress are protected by the cubical walls they hide behind in government buildings. Those 6 figure salaries are the ones siphoning our precious tax dollars along with the consultants and engineers who design and plan for a project several times over before even breaking ground. It's not the guy who drives a bus for 60 hours a week and misses all of his kids' baseball games and dance recitals so they can be able to afford such a standard lifestyle any more than it's the same guy who takes the vacations contractually awarded to him so he can spend time with his family who he never sees, shows up to his legally required civic duty in court, and/or takes mandatory leave to serve his country in the military reserves.

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Re: Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fix

Postby BigUglyCat » Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:20 pm

Cosmo wrote:
CRail wrote:I don't try to hide that I care about the employees of any labor force, especially those in the public sector and even moreso about those in the Commonwealth's public sector. Those who operate the service in which I take personal interest are naturally who I support the most. I also care about the service which is provided by the Authority I grew up being a fan of. This is why I'm frustrated to see the hard working men and women of our transit system getting dragged through the mud while people who really don't do anything except arrest progress are protected by the cubical walls they hide behind in government buildings. Those 6 figure salaries are the ones siphoning our precious tax dollars along with the consultants and engineers who design and plan for a project several times over before even breaking ground. It's not the guy who drives a bus for 60 hours a week and misses all of his kids' baseball games and dance recitals so they can be able to afford such a standard lifestyle any more than it's the same guy who takes the vacations contractually awarded to him so he can spend time with his family who he never sees, shows up to his legally required civic duty in court, and/or takes mandatory leave to serve his country in the military reserves.

LIKE BUTTON! :-D

LIKE BUTTON! :-D
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Re: Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fix

Postby Gerry6309 » Sat Apr 18, 2015 8:21 pm

In the beginning...

There were two agencies

The Boston Transit Commission (Capital)

and

The Boston Elevated Railway (Operating)

This maintained a separation between the cost of building the system and operating it. And the Elevated lost money more often than not!

What we need is to separate these functions again, so that transit operations stand alone. Paying for these overly expensive construction projects should NOT be the responsibility of the fare box.

Secondly, any operating deficit should be covered, and a service improvement budget should be in place each year. Transit should be affordable and useful.

Funding for expansion plans should be frugal, and we should not be building Taj Mahals of Transit, nor should we condone stations where the platform is darker than the tunnel. Been through Tufts Medical Center lately?

Amen
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Re: Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fix

Postby NRGeep » Sun Apr 19, 2015 10:53 am

And despite the spin Baker PR folks are spinning in local media, the Big Dig debt dumped on the T is at least a baby elephant in their room and should be dumped elsewhere.
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Re: Governor's panel report:Fiscal Control Board & major fix

Postby octr202 » Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:55 am

Dredging up a past topic, the first actions of the new Fiscal Control Board are out:

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/0 ... story.html

Commuter rail operator’s fine money diverted to hire staff

By Nicole Dungca Globe Staff July 21, 2015

Tuesday was meant to mark a new era for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, as the new board that is charged with bringing financial stability to the agency finally convened.

But at that first meeting, T officials announced a financial decision that left at least one legislator scratching his head. Though Keolis Commuter Services had been fined about $7.53 million in its first year for subpar service, the MBTA would allow Keolis to use the penalty money to hire more employees.

On Tuesday, Frank DePaola, the interim general manager of the agency, said the money could purchase additional steam-cleaning equipment and allow Keolis to hire new fare collectors and customer service employees.

The move drew criticism from state Senator Jamie Eldridge, an Acton Democrat, who said it was “almost a reward for continued poor service.”

But Leslie Aun, a spokeswoman for Keolis, said the money is being used to improve the customer experience, not fund services Keolis is already contractually obligated to provide.
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