Thursday, February 26, 2009

Don't Park at MassPort

One of my followers is going to love this:

"Massport quietly raises parking rates; No public hearing, notice of increase" by Sean P. Murphy, Globe Staff | February 23, 2009

The state agency that runs Logan International Airport has responded to plummeting revenues at its garages by raising the parking fees it charges, even while keeping its 75-member garage staff at full strength and awarding one of its unions a 7.5 percent pay increase over two years.

Hey, NOT EVERYONE is HURTING in this state, huh?

(Also see flashback at the bottom of this post)

The moves by Massport demonstrate how the agency, where the managers frequently boast of operating like a private business, can use its monopoly on public parking to help it survive tough times.

Yeah, FUCK the PUBLIC they are supposed to be serving!

Although it has avoided the type of layoffs that have swept the private sector and some corners of state government, Massport officials said the agency has undergone some belt-tightening. A hiring freeze has resulted in 61 vacant positions by attrition, saving $4 million a year, which is less than 1 percent of its budget. And officials at the agency, which employs a total of about 1,100 workers, said layoffs remain a possibility.

Yeah, I'm sure they are doing a GREAT JOB over there!

Without a hearing or public notice, Massport raised the parking rates an average of 7.7 percent - which translates, for most motorists, to an extra $1 every time they use the garage. The per-day rate remains the same at $24 per day. The new rates, which went into effect Feb. 1, are expected to bring in $1 million more in revenue.

The GOUGING of this state's residents is MIND-BOGGLING!!!

The new rates firmly position Logan at the top of the parking price list among comparable national airports. To park for up to 3 hours at Logan is now $16; at LaGuardia in New York, $12; at Los Angeles International, $11; at Chicago's O'Hare, $4; and at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International, $4, according to airport websites. At the regional T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, R.I., it would cost $9.

Hey, this IS Massachusetts!! We have a REPUTATION to maintain!

Because of the recession, parking revenues at Logan fell $4.2 million during the last eight months when compared with the previous year, according to Massport figures obtained under the state public records law.

So they decided to CHARGE YOU MORE for LETTING YOUR CAR SIT on their lot!!!!

"The decision to raise the hourly rate was not done in a vacuum," said Danny Levy, Massport spokeswoman. "Massport employees are dedicated and aware of the financial constraints under which the authority is operating and realize that layoffs may be possible."

Yeah, that's why they LOADED LAVISH RAISES and OUTSIZED PENSIONS on the MANAGERS, huh?

Also see: Massport's Chinese Connection

Managers, on Jan. 16, signed an agreement with dozens of service and maintenance workers giving them 3.7-percent wage increases in each of two years, retroactive to July 1, 2008, according to a copy of the contract. A separate contract covers the parking workers.

Nothing about the BOSSES RAISES, huh?

Parking revenue accounts for almost 25 percent of Massport's revenue, while tolls on the Tobin Bridge, landing fees, and rents of its facilities account for the remainder. Massport receives no direct state tax dollars.

But they receive INDIRECT TAX DOLLARS? WTF kind of "reporting" is that?

The Massport board of directors never voted directly on the $1 increase in rates. Instead, the board voted on Nov. 20 to give Thomas Kinton Jr., Massport's executive director, and other managers the authority to "adjust" parking rates "if market demand and price tolerance dictates," board meeting minutes say.

Or their DEBTS do!!!!

Nowhere in the meeting agenda or the minutes is the word "increase" used. According to the minutes, the unanimous vote of the board to allow managers to "adjust" rates came without discussion from board members, including James Aloisi, who has since become Governor Deval Patrick's secretary of transportation. Aloisi, through a spokesman, declined to comment....


Signs were posted at the MBTA facilities before Nov. 15 announcing the rate increase, MBTA spokesman Joseph Pesaturo said. The proposed increase was widely covered by the news media. The last time Massport raised the parking rate, in 2007, the plan was announced a week before the board voted on it and three weeks before the new rate was scheduled to go into effect.

So WHY NOT NOW, huh? Public might get mad!?

Instead of making a public announcement this time, Massport on Jan. 26 issued an internal memo setting out the rate changes, a copy of which was obtained by the Globe. While no public notice was required, the increase - and the way it was done - did not sit well with some airport users.

Who can blame them?

A recent, informal survey of about a dozen users of the airport's central garage found only one person aware of the increase. "It's a slap at the ordinary people," said Michael Albertson of Arlington, who was returning to this car. "They hope we wouldn't notice, but it really impacts us," he said. "In Massachusetts, the little guy always pays while the politicians and their friends take care of themselves."

I couldn't have described my home state any more accurately.

Massport said raising rates was one of several painful steps the agency has taken.

Awwwww, POOR MASSPORT!!!!!

Levy said Massport plans to cut another $17 million in its budget in the next six months and will delay $100 million in capital projects.... The recession has cut deeply into air travel....

Oh, my heart bleeds for the crooks at MassPort!!! Pffffftt!


And as promised, FLASHBACK:

"Mining vacation gold at Massport; Benefit is used to increase salaries, pensions of workers" by Sean P. Murphy, Globe Staff | December 22, 2008

As the year ends, many employees at the public agency that runs Logan International Airport once again can expect a little extra cheer in their paychecks.

In an arrangement that is extremely rare throughout the rest of state and local government, officials at the Port Authority of Massachusetts can take advantage of a little-known benefit to add as much as 6 percent to their paychecks by "selling back" up to three weeks of unused vacation time.

About 300 Massport employees cash in some vacation time each year, including both management and union workers, costing the agency about $750,000 annually. And it is a benefit popular among those contemplating retirement, because by boosting their income, they also increase their pensions.

In the case of its highest-paid administrator, executive director Thomas Kinton Jr., the perk was worth $15,875 this year. As a longtime employee, he gets five weeks of vacation. This year, he took two and sold back the rest. That payment came on top of Kinton's $295,000 annual salary.

Kinton declined to comment, but Danny Levy, a spokeswoman for Massport, defended the benefit. "We operate as a business and we compete for the best talent with those in the private industry," said Levy. "And to compete with the private industry in attracting and retaining talented employees, we strive to provide a competitive benefit package."

Yeah, too bad the state is swimming in debt, you disgusting pigs!

"If someone chooses not to take vacation time they have rightfully earned, we believe they should be compensated for it," she added. Some specialists, however, say it is unwarranted.

"It's an abuse - it's not right and the public deserves better," said Fred Foulkes, a Boston University professor and director of the university's Human Resources Policy Institute. "You would be hard-pressed to find any examples like it anywhere in the workplace."

Foulkes said one danger is that managers will sell their vacation time and find other ways to string together enough days off to be the equivalent of a vacation. "It's easy to keep track of lower-level folks, but at higher levels, there often isn't adequate record-keeping," he said. "Nobody asks a top manager for a doctor's note when he's out sick, for example. There's a high level of trust. You assume a lot. And that's risky."

Oh, so it is the RICHER MANAGERS not the grunts that are BILKING and MILKING the TAXPAYERS of my (not-so-fair) state!


Like Kinton, other top managers regularly take advantage of the opportunity. Thomas Butler, Massport director of external affairs, this year received $9,300 for the three weeks he did not use (salary, $169,000); Massport Fire Chief Robert Donahue, $9,075 (salary, $157,000); and maritime director Dennis Kay, $8,660 (salary, $150,000).

I'm appalled! Do you know how long $9,000 dollars would last me?

The bump in employees' projected pension benefits is also substantial. Public employees generally receive 80 percent of their "regular pay" as pensions, which includes the vacation sell-back. So for Kinton, a 32-year veteran of the agency who rose to executive director in 2006, the $15,875 in vacation sell-back pay he received this year would boost his projected pension by about $12,700 a year, up to about $248,700 a year, based on his current salary and the 80 percent formula.

And then they are going to DOUBLE-DIP and BILK our BANKRUPT STATE PENSION FUN, too! What SLOP!!!!

Fewer than 30 percent of Massport's approximately 1,200 employees sell vacation. Among the 20 employees with the longest tenures at Massport, and most likely to retire, 70 percent sell vacation.

Massport is an independent authority established by the Legislature. Kinton answers to a board of directors, whose members are appointed by the governor. The agency is supported by fees it charges airlines to operate at Logan, parking fees, and tolls collected on the Tobin Bridge, but no direct state tax dollars. Revenues at Massport are off by 4 percent this year.

Massport is Patrick's choice to take over the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, which is collapsing under the weight of the debt it took on for the Big Dig....

Oh, great!

Massport has run into turbulence in the past over what some considered its overly generous benefits packages. Two years ago, the agency was strongly criticized for another little-noticed perk - the sale of unused sick leave. Under that benefit, retiring employees were paid 100 percent of the value of their unused sick time, compared to only 20 percent under the state system. Some Massport payments exceeded $200,000.

Under pressure from former governor Mitt Romney and others, the Massport board of directors in 2006 scaled back the unused sick time buyback benefit to bring it in line with the state....

Yeah, do WE EVER MISS ROMNEY around here! Never thought I'd say that, but it is true!



I'm sure my NE follower will enjoy this. Maybe you should put in a bid, Bonnie.

"Port to seek bids on China office; Its current deal has spiraled into $1.5m expense" by Noah Bierman, Globe Staff | February 26, 2009

: Massport's Chinese Connection

The Massachusetts Port Authority will open bidding on a Chinese consulting contract that has spiraled from $15,000 to more than $1.5 million in the eight years since it was awarded without competition.

"We'll see who's out there," said Thomas J. Kinton Jr., Massport's chief executive. '

Yup, gotta see who is out there to give taxpayer or resident loot away, yup!!!

The Globe reported on Massport's unusual contract with Jiansheng "Jason" Li, the consultant, earlier this month. The most recent extension on Li's contract to build trade with China expires at the end of June. Two messages left on Li's voice mail yesterday were not returned.

Though his company, China Market Solutions, has sometimes been paid more than $200,000 a year to solicit airline and port business in China, the agency conducts no formal performance reviews and imposes no requirement that he work a set number of hours.

And the agency has been unable to locate a resume for him. His contract allows him to maintain as many other clients as he wants, as long as they do not conflict with Massport's interests. The current contract also allows Li to submit invoices for up to $300,000 in additional payments and travel reimbursements before it expires this year. Li has recently submitted more invoices, but Massport spokeswoman Danny Levy said they are still being reviewed, and she did not know how much more he has billed the agency.

Spokeswoman is a joo, but leave that aside.

Listen to 'em: we don't know, we don't know!!!!

Massport officials previously conceded Li's contract "may not have been managed to the standards that we want and expect," but say his connections have been critical to building the Chinese shipping trade, from nothing to more than $25 million in docking and unloading fees in 2008.

There is THAT WORD AGAIN -- and they act as if the Chinese were not coming here anyway!

Logan International Airport still has no nonstop passenger air service with China, and cargo service between the two countries, another goal listed in the contract, lasted just three months.

Li's payments included thousands of dollars for premium air travel and luxury hotels. In his travels, he appears to have violated agency policies laid out in his contract, including a requirement that he receive permission to fly business class and that he return the frequent flyer miles he earned on state business to Massport....

Going to make him GIVE the MONEY BACK, then?

Or is that just for tax resisters and deadbeat dads that cost the state money when they have billions to shovel away in corporate welfare and fat-cat state swindlers huh?

And, oh, yeah, they are lying about deficits, too: The State Budget Swindle

In 2002, Li helped Massport negotiate a contract with COSCO, China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co., one of China's two national shipping companies. The business has grown substantially, at the same time overall US-China shipping trade has taken off.

Ooooooooh!! THAT's what COSCO stands for!

That EXPLAINS all the CHEAP CHINESE SHIT in there!!!!!!

Even as the port solicits new competition for a consultant, Li may be selected if he proves the best person for the job, Levy said. "We have COSCO, and you have to allow the relationship to grow and flourish, and Jason was very instrumental in that," Levy said....

Well, is THAT EVER FARTING in your FACE, 'eh, Massachusetts residents?

A nice, big stinker!!!!!.

Massport once maintained foreign trade offices around the world, but shut them down in 2001, following criticism of their high costs. Li's contracts with the agency began to grow more lucrative and his responsibilities more extensive after that period.

Translation: MassPort needed ANOTHER WAY to STEAL or HIDE the LOOT!!!!!!!!