Saturday, 2:15 PM
Report finds cost-cutting move caused Easter traffic snarls on Pike
By Noah Bierman, Globe Staff
The Patrick administration plans to announce Saturday that there was no deliberate job action, nor a concerted effort by Massachusetts Turnpike Authority managers, to create a logjam on the state's toll road last weekend, an administration official said today.
The announcement will blame the intense traffic tie-ups over Easter weekend on the decision by turnpike chief Alan LeBovidge to avoid calling in overtime workers to replace sick workers, a cost-cutting measure.
The undersecretary of transportation, Jeff Mullan, conducted a review of the weekend tie-ups after a public fury and a demand by Governor Deval Patrick for a "full accounting." The turnpike authority is also conducting its own review of the snarls.
The administration will also announce efforts to reduce future holiday traffic tie-ups, including plans to make sure there are an "appropriate" number of toll takers working, even if it requires calling in overtime workers, the official said. LeBovidge said earlier this week that he was making plans to add toll-takers "strategically." It is not clear if the administration's plan would further add to LeBovidge's staffing levels.
Despite some calls for LeBovidge's resignation, he will not be quitting or be forced out, according to the administration official and LeBovidge's chief of staff, Jennifer Flagg.
The Globe reported earlier in the week that staffing levels on Easter Sunday were 28 percent lower that during last year’s holiday, not only because of fewer overtime workers but also because of the overall staff numbers assigned to work the holiday. And LeBovidge confirmed Thursday that staffing levels at some booths were lowered as recently as April 10.