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Posted by Jeffrey Mullan, MassDOT Secretary and CEO

The Transportation Round Table is one year old and I have a new hat.

Yesterday, we observed the one-year anniversary of our Round Table meetings with employees aimed at improving communications and workplace culture.  The concept behind the Round Table is simple – it’s an employee forum to listen to co-workers and discuss with senior leadership workplace issues every month.  I don’t want one month to go by without employees having an opportunity to raise an issue, large or small, with the senior team at the DOT.  Some meetings are very structured.  Yesterday’s was not.  We heard a lot from bus operators on the challenges of working on the front lines every day.  Some people who raised issues got immediate answers.  Others did not.  There was a lot of listening and a lot of respect on display.  Most importantly, people felt free to talk without fear.  It was, to me, a major breakthrough.

I observed at the end of the meeting that, while much of the discussion was coming from MBTA workers, there are issues being raised that are common to all divisions.  I encourage more discussion from other areas on this and other topics. 

At the meeting, Roger Marceau, an employee leader and member of the Round Table from the Bennett Street garage in North Cambridge, gave me a tricorn hat.  I like hats because they keep my bald head warm.  More importantly, I know that the hat is symbolic of the progress we have made together.  These hats were worn for centuries, but are known to most of us as belonging to the minutemen of the American Revolution who fought and won our nation’s independence.  The minutemen were regular people who believed in something, fought for it with a sense of urgency, and stayed with it despite the occasional setback. 

I could not be more pleased with the candor and respect that was on display yesterday and for the gift for all that it symbolizes, and am once again satisfied that we have charted the right course.  To all of the minutemen and minutewomen of the MassDOT Round Table, keep talking.  We are listening.

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