Thursday, September 11, 2008

Graubauskas Reveals Raises Granted Since 2005

Today is the 7th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy. Our thoughts are with our nation today.

From today's The Boston Globe . . . MBTA GM Dan Graubauskas said he has granted 33 raises to employees since July 1, 2005. The raises, which averaged about $5,000, were either a merit raise or to bring an employee's salary in line with their peers. The vast majority of the 273 non-union employees did not receive raises or cost-of-living increases. The raises ranged from 3% to 19% of an employee's salary.

This is a relatively benign situation, especially since the raises go back three years to '05. And I'm sure most people in their own careers would like to avoid something to this effect:
At the same time, rescinding the cost-of-living adjustment raises at the T has caused some morale problems. There are now 46 managers who make less than their subordinates, according to MBTA records. The 153 subordinates who earn more than their bosses have higher salaries because they are part of a union and received the 9 percent pay raise as part of the recent arbitration.
Huh. Maybe you wouldn't want to be a manager at the T? The article noted that it is sometimes difficult to persuade T employees to accept promotions.

The Boston Herald also wrote about the raises. However, their article was much more pointed and it left out some information included in The Globe's article.

WickedLocal Hingham
reported yesterday that there may be cuts to the MBTA commuter boat service.
The MBTA’s “Preliminary 2008 Service Plan” was released recently for public comment. It includes proposals to eliminate the last round trip and reduce or eliminate service on certain holidays on the Hingham/Boston commuter boat.

For Hingham this would mean eliminating the 7:40 p.m. trip from Hingham Shipyard and the 8:30 p.m. trip from Rowe’s Wharf. It is also proposed there be no service on Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day. A reduced holiday schedule is proposed for Patriot’s Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day and the day after Thanksgiving.

Several schedule changes are also proposed for the Quincy/Hull/Boston/Logan Airport commuter boat, including reducing the number of trips operating during off-peak periods on weekdays and weekends and to eliminate the second stop at Logan Airport on weekends.
The Greenbush commuter rail extension combined with the MBTA's debt are the factors leading to the commuter boat service reduction. Sen. Robert Hedlund, R-Weymouth was quoted with the following comments:
Hedlund finds the situation ironic. “The T is paying off a huge debt service on Greenbush and looking at making service cuts elsewhere,” he said. “And it’s not just the boats. There’s also a strain on bus and train service.”

The MBTA had “the most aggressive capital expansion program of any transit agency in the country during past decades,” Hedlund said. “They are now $8 billion in debt, $3 million of which is debt service alone. The T also has huge personnel costs — health insurance and retirement benefits.”
The article also said that the T had "assured commuter boat advocates that the Greenbush restoration would not impact boat service." That's a good one, huh?

Drivers in the MetroWest towns of Ashland and Sherborn take note. A bridge connecting Ashland to Sherborn at Eliot Street to Whitney Streete is being shut down for repairs. Read all about it in this article from The MetroWest Daily News. The bridge is closed indefinitely.

I sure hope it gets fixed faster than some bridges in The Blackstone Valley. There is a bridge in Grafton on Pleasant Street that has been closed for years - for so long I can't remember the last time it was open. I want to say it has been closed for at least 3 to 4 years. And this bridge closed while a second bridge on Depot Street in South Grafton was closed. If you have to drive through Grafton, the closed Pleasant Street bridge becomes a giant PIA.

Finally, as a graduate of Providence College, I had to share this WickedLocal Roxbury endorsement of State Rep Mike Rush's re-election campaign. While I do not live in the communities Mike represents, I do know he's a great Rep and he's a big advocate for Needham commuter rail users. Good luck Mike in your run-off against your Democratic Party challenger. Go Friars!!!

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