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Overtime Pay Tally Reveals Large Disparities

The top 50 overtime earners among state employees averaged $99,114 in overtime pay during fiscal 2017. Of the top 50 the top earners, two work in the Department of Mental Health, two in the Department of Public Health, five in the Department of Transportation, 11 in the Department of Corrections and 30 are in the State Police Department, five of whom are part of the State Police Overtime Scandal. Also, 21 of the top 50 overtime earners made more in overtime pay than their regular salary. The spreadsheet below lists the 50 state employees who received the most overtime pay in 2017, downloaded from MassOpenBooks, a research tool offered by Pioneer Institute (an asterisk signifies involvement in the State Police […]

Rebuilding the Long Island Bridge May Not Be the Answer

From the 1920s to 2014, Boston Harbor’s Long Island played an integral role in housing medical, rehabilitation and shelter facilities for the City of Boston. Specifically, a homeless shelter was opened on the island in 1928; an almshouse, addiction facility and a chronic disease hospital in 1941; plus several since-decommissioned World War II-era military installments. In 1950, a major step to improve access to the island, which had only been reachable by boat or ferry, was the $2 million construction of the Long Island viaduct. The project provided access to the Island via a bridge connected to neighboring Moon Island, which was connected to North Quincy by a causeway. However, in 2014, at the urging of MassDOT and following years […]

The Storrow Drive Tunnel Has The Lowest Sufficiency Rating In The Country, Why Hasn’t It Been Fixed Yet?

If you live in or commute to Boston, chances are you’ve driven through the Storrow Tunnel, the east-bound section of Storrow Drive where the lanes run underneath the westbound lanes for a half mile stretch in the area between Back Bay’s Clarendon Street and the Hatch Shell. Nearly 60,000 drivers travel through it every day, with few likely being aware that it has earned the worst “bridge sufficiency rating” of all operating bridges in the United States according to Travel & Leisure magazine. The “bridge sufficiency rating” is calculated using a formula defined by the Federal Highway Administration to serve as a prioritization tool to allocate federal funds, accounting for structural adequacy and safety, serviceability for modern use, and significance […]

What impact do Massachusetts home prices have on Boston commuters?

Massachusetts is commonly ranked one of the most expensive states in to live in, and recent housing market data indicates that isn’t likely to change any time soon. In June, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR) reported that the median price for a single family home had reached $430,000, an all-time high. The condominium market looks similar, with median prices reaching an unprecedented $390,000 according to MAR and the Warren Group. One reason for the spike in home and condo prices is a lack of homes for sale. Specifically, the number of homes on the market declined 16% from last year. In Massachusetts, where a large portion of residents commute to Boston for work, the increase in home prices can […]

Falsified Records & Shady Human Resources Policies: The Latest Scandal in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

The Office of the Medical Examiner for Massachusetts is a taxpayer-funded agency that employs 93 people and is responsible for investigating violent and unexplained deaths in Massachusetts. Last year, Dr. Mindy J. Hull was chosen to lead the agency as chief medical examiner, a position with a salary that was recently increased by nearly $100,000 to $375,000 to lure a qualified candidate. After accepting the position, Hull elevated Lisa Riccobene, who has been with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (CME) since 2005, to chief of staff in late spring, 2018. This high-ranking position directly oversees 17 employees and has a salary of $112,000. While this may appear to be a run-of-the-mill promotion of a veteran employee, it became […]

Need a Lift?

For hundreds of years, the Tufts Medical Center has served as a research and teaching facility and a full service hospital for residents of Back Bay and the greater Boston area. Given the Center’s significance, a MBTA Orange Line stop was built underneath the hospital in the late 1980’s to allow patients and employees to commute with ease. Although much about the station and medical center has changed since the MBTA stop’s creation in 1987, a core component of its infrastructure has not: its elevator system, which allows for direct access from the station to the hospital. After 31 years of use, the 3 elevators in the station require replacement. On October 16, 2017 the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority began […]

Newburyport, Abington and Beyond: How Should Massachusetts Towns Prepare for Legalized Recreational Marijuana?

Recreational marijuana businesses are legal in Massachusetts as of July 1, but many of the Commonwealth’s towns are still unsure about how to proceed. Even though voters enthusiastically approved Question 4 in 2016, the enthusiasm has not carried over to town governments. For example, in Milford, 52 percent of voters supported the statewide legalization initiative. Yet less than a year later, 56 percent of Milford voters supported a referendum banning all recreational marijuana sales in the town. Despite this referendum, the first-ever recreational marijuana license in Massachusetts was recently granted to a Milford cultivation facility. While several similar towns have opted for an indefinite ban on recreational marijuana sales, over one third of Massachusetts towns have imposed moratoriums, temporarily banning […]