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Posted by Jeff Mullan, MassDOT Secretary & Chief Executive Officer

Regarding the article that appeared in the Globe’s Friday, May 13th edition (“State’s raises for 17 follow frugality talk”) and the follow up editorial the following day [“Pay hikes for inner circle send the wrong message”), I write to add some context and facts.

First, the article doesn’t make it clear that, in every one of the instances in which adjustments were made, people assumed new duties and responsibilities directly resulting from the merger through the consolidation of jobs.  In many of these cases people assumed entirely new jobs, not simply more responsibility. 

Second, through attrition, layoffs and job eliminations inherent in any merger, despite the increased salaries for these people, the management reorganization will save us more than $260,000 per year for these duties alone.  This amount does not count other jobs, such as my former position, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, and the management team at the Tobin Memorial Bridge, which were eliminated and which have saved hundreds of thousands more.  Indeed, scores of positions have been eliminated as a result of the merger, savings from which are a part of the more than $125 million we have saved in MassDOT’s first 18 months. 

Lastly, Saturday’s editorial criticizes me for approving increases for my “inner circle” and for their timing.  What happened here is precisely what has happened in every merger I have studied – we have reduced overhead and have, in particular, dramatically reduced the number of people in state transportation leadership positions.  Rather than an “inner circle,” these are the people who most directly took on new responsibilities to replace jobs that were eliminated.  As for the timing, no time is a good time to increase public sector salaries today.  However, in every one of the instances in which adjustments were made, people assumed new duties and responsibilities in November of 2009 – meaning that they have been working in these new positions at their old rate of pay for over 18 months.  I held off increases in pay until I was certain that we could fully document net savings of these management changes – savings that add more than $260,000 to our bottom line.

The work we are doing at the DOT is a necessary part of the transformation that the transportation reform law requires.  I remain committed to building a Department of Transportation that operates efficiently, focuses on our customers, and empowers all of our employees to do their best as we work to earn back the public’s trust. 

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