Liz Levin, a former member of the MassDOT/MBTA board who chaired the committee that recommended final candidates to the full board, said she was not aware of the The Business Psychology Company evaluation and counseling or the KPMG audit. She said she strongly supports Scott’s selection.
“She has so much energy and that for some people can be complicated,” she said. “She demands a lot of people. I never heard anything negative about her. She’s a good choice and we are lucky to get her.” She added that Scott was a “change agent, and that is often difficult and not always appreciated in an entrenched organization.”
In December 2011, at the time Scott told the Atlanta board she would not seek an extension of her contract, the position of general manager at the MBTA had been vacant for almost four months. However, MassDOT kept Jonathan Davis, the T’s chief financial officer, on as interim general manager for what will be almost a year after Scott’s decision to leave MARTA. One provision of Scott’s contract in Atlanta gives her a $125,000 bonus only if she completes her five-year term as chief executive officer and general manager, a bonus she appears likely to collect by using accrued vacation or other leave to stay on the MARTA payroll even after arriving in Boston in mid-December.
Scott, when she assumes her duties, will be the first T general manager in recent years to have not previously worked in either a local transportation or government position. She will also be the first African-American woman to lead what is the fifth-largest transit system in the country, with 6,500 employees and an annual budget of $1.8 billion.
In the first weeks of his tenure as the Patrick administration’s top transportation official in September 2011 , Davey publicly pledged to appoint the first woman to head the MBTA. Scott and another candidate for the position — a man — were invited to be interviewed by the MassDOT/MBTA board on Sept. 24, but by then the governor’s office had already signaled to MassDOT that Scott was to be selected,according to a Sept. 20 story in the Globe that cited people familiar with the selection process.
It was also on Sept. 24 that MARTA publicly released KPMG’s management audit.
Mike Jacobs, a state representative in Georgia who heads the legislative committee that oversees MARTA, said he knew nothing of the The Business Psychology Company’s evaluation and counseling until last month, when the Atlanta news media cited recently obtained documents in reporting the story as Scott prepared to leave for Boston. Her successor, Keith Parker, who headed mass transit in San Antonio, Texas, is to take over in Atlanta Dec. 10.
“Had it come to light earlier I would have made sure it got a full airing,” Jacobs said. “It’s cause for concern when a consultant is hired for this sort of purpose to address a major leadership position.”
He said there is no point in his looking into the matter any further. “She’s in the past for us,” he said of Scott.
“But,” he added, “not for Boston.”
Sean P. Murphy can be reached at email@example.com.