Governor Deval Patrick, back in Massachusetts after a two-week international trade mission, said today he will meet with Fidelity executives about their decision to ship 1,100 jobs out of state and wants them to declare “to my face” that the move is final.
Patrick expressed mounting frustration with the executives, who he said had planned to join him on the final leg of his trade mission in England but backed out “at the last minute” on Friday.
“From Fidelity’s perspective, it’s a done deal, but I want them to say that to my face and I want to see whether there is something we can do,” Patrick said at a State House news conference. “But I am not hopeful of that. They are coming in because they are also feeling my frustration.”
He said he didn’t want to “scold” Fidelity executives but said he has long struggled with his relationship with the Boston-based financial services giant.
“There’s a conversation we’re going to have to have, that I have been trying to have with Fidelity since the first few weeks that I have been in this job, and it has do with communication,” the governor said. “I can’t compete if I don’t know that something is amiss.”
Fidelity spokeswoman Anne Crowley said the decision was not rooted in a competition that Patrick could have won; rather, it was based on Fidelity's decision to consolidate its real estate holdings.
Asked about the company's relationship with the Patrick administration, Crowley said: "We have an ongoing relationship with the state and we are not going to discuss the details of our relationship."
And when asked if she believed Patrick was scolding the company, she said: "It's not my job to comment on his public relations strategy."
Patrick also faced questions about nuclear safety, the falling Big Dig light fixture, gambling talks, and his own political aspirations.
On the Big Dig light, Patrick expressed frustration that neither he nor the public were informed about the falling fixture until more than five weeks after the incident. He said his transportation secretary, Jeffrey B. Mullan, has taken the right step by apologizing and that he still has confidence in Mullan.
Questioned about nuclear safety in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Patrick said he supports extending the license for the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth next year, as long as the proper safety reviews are conducted.
Patrick also said he is hopeful about gambling talks at the State House, and would be open to an ambassadorship --- but only after completing his term in 2014.
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