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Maura Healey needs real change at the MBTA, not just public relations

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Gov.-elect Maura Healey’s “international” search for an MBTA GM seems more like a public relations strategy than a real plan to fix the ailing T.

Simply installing a new general manager — especially one with no knowledge of how the T works — is not real change. Real change would be Healey putting the authority under state receivership, with the governor fully in charge.

If the T were a city, it would be in receivership. So why not do what the state would do with any ailing city or school system?

The new T general manager should be under the governor.

And Healey herself needs to take responsibility for the T from day one. She needs to own it. It’s something Charlie Baker or Deval Patrick never did in their years as governor.

No matter who Healey brings in as GM it will be just another face of the crisis. You could bring someone in from Sweden, they’ll still be dealing with the same old system and same old inept hackery.

The T has been operating independently without any accountability for decades. Hiring a new T chief is just one of many things that needs to change for the transit authority to become a functioning and fully transparent organization.

By hiring an international search firm, the new governor wants to make it look like she’s searching far and wide for a new GM. It’s almost like she’s looking for someone with public relations and political skills, which won’t solve the problem.

But the reality is the authority needs someone with the power and internal knowledge to start shaking the place up, making substantive changes with how the T operates.

That especially includes putting new people in charge of the T Board of Directors, which right now is a toothless yes man for the GM.

Much like the current New England Patriots, the MBTA is a dysfunctional monster with a horrible record and questionable decision-making at the top.

There is patronage, high salaries, and a total lack of transparency. Sound familiar, Coach Healey?

Well, take a cue from football and make wholesale changes to how the T runs. Don’t leave it to the board or the new GM — do it yourself. The T needs a real leader at the top, and not just a PR man or woman.

Healey has been reluctant so far to talk openly about the details of what she’ll do as governor.

“I’m sure there are lots of ideas for how to do a bunch of different things,” she said on Wednesday after touring a T facility. “But I think what’s important to us is we’re actually listening to folks.”

Well, when it comes to the T, the message must be clear and direct. We won’t tolerate the T as it now operates, and anyone who doesn’t get that message should be removed.

Everett, MA Governor-elect Maura Healey and Lieutenant Governor-elect Kim Driscoll tour the MBTAÕs Main Repair Facility on Wednesday,December 21, 2022 in Everett, MA.(Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
Gov..-Elect Maura Healey got an up-close look at the MBTA main repair facility Wednesday where there’s just not enough experts to get it done. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)

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