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MBTA retirement board split over opening up files

Andrew Whittle and Janice Loux consulted at a hearing of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation board of directors.
Andrew Whittle and Janice Loux consulted at a hearing of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation board of directors.John Tlumacki/Globe staff

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Janice Loux has a long record of speaking up for the little guy. A fiery union organizer, she has spent much of her career fighting for Boston’s hospitality workers. As a director at the state Department of Transportation, she sides with T riders who complain at public meetings, and badgers officials to clear snow from bus stops.

But Loux has been nearly silent in another of her public roles. She is the leader of the secretive MBTA retirement fund board, its longest-serving member, dispatched there by five governors, starting with William Weld in 1997.

The board has rebuffed public scrutiny for years, and continues to fight overtures by the governor and the Legislature to open more of the fund’s records, even in the recent wake of a controversial $25 million investment loss.

The board, which Loux has chaired since 2001, relies on its historic status as a private trust, despite soaring taxpayer support for the T and, indirectly, its $1.6 billion pension fund. Taxpayers contribute more than $1 billion a year to the debt-strapped MBTA, whose perpetual budget squeeze has led to fare hikes and service cutbacks for riders.

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