Dr. Beverly Scott and her Knack for Internal Investigations

by Thomas Donoghue

The weather is droning on and the Atlanta continues its slumber throughout the remaining months of this most persistent winter. We all yearn for the sunny days that all Georgians are consistently promised by all “good for business” entities.

However, regardless of all the depression that sets in with the gloomy days, I think it’s safe to say: at least we’re not Boston. All of this is a long-winded approach to bringing me to the reason for writing today: Dr. Beverly Scott, the now former Chief Executive of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA, or better known as the “T”), and former MARTA Chief Executive.

It seems asBeverlyScott if Boston got a little dose of classic ineptitude during these winter months imported from out very own MARTA of years past. The T probably didn’t know what they were in for in hiring Beverly Scott once the going got truly tough. On Oct. 8, 2012, our very own Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that MARTA had hired an outside consultant firm to peer into Beverly Scott’s leadership practices and that of her executive staff with the following findings: “Interview feedback gathered from the Executive Management Team (EMT) and the board during September and November revealed numerous opportunities for performance improvement for Dr. Beverly Scott and the other members of the executive team.” Simply put, Scott isn’t good at her job and y’all need to show her the door. However, by the time MARTA had finally seen the light, Scott was already on her way to head the T.

In fact, MARTA hired a psychologist at a cool flat rate of $144,000 to assist Scott with her leadership ineptitude.

This winter, Scott abruptly quit the T with little reason behind her decision, other than that she faced formidable questions from far better news agencies than the AJC requesting she answer to her poor performance as chief executive in light of this year’s most relentless snow storms. Of course, Scott blamed the quality of the fiscal infrastructure on her closing down the MBTA. Note that there is always someone or something else to blame when she’s under fire. Isn’t it the job of the chief executive not to pass blame? The ability to take responsibility is the reason for their position in the first place.

Let me recount the zingers that Scott chose to answer the Boston press’s very real and concerned questioning:

“…if you ever think that there’s anyone else that you think can do it better, they should do it.”

“…this wasn’t this woman’s first rodeo.”baker-tweet

“But what you have to do is give that person, God Jr. or whoever, give them the resources…”

And my favorite: “Just take Bev out of the picture.”

It seems as if Bev took herself out of the picture. She resigned from the MBTA on Feb. 11, but not before she told the Boston metro area that it would take 30 days to bring the T service back to normal operations. And more recently, the Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has formed another panel to investigate what Scott did wrong and why. Like the woman said, this isn’t her first rodeo. After all, remember when Scott turned MARTA into an advocacy agency and had a red “X” spray painted on 30 percent of the buses then had them repeatedly circle the State House in protest. It’s no wonder past lawmaker’s decided consistently not to support MARTA, particularly a CEO who drives her buses off a cliff both fiscally and politically.

0219_mbta-infographicOne daily commuter put it best to Radio Boston when he said, “As a rider, it is the small things that are so glaring [they] typify a management that is entirely out of touch with reality.” I only wish the MBTA would have asked MARTA riders their opinions of Scott before they hired her, particularly when Scott talked of cutting MARTA service completely on certain days of the week. WSB TV reported in 2012 upon Scott’s exit: “she cut jobs, cut bus service, froze pay, and increased employee contributions to healthcare.”

Scott’s consistent and well-documented record is completely contrary to the outside-the-box exemplary job of current MARTA CEO Keith Parker. Only this time, if the T comes knockin’, I hope MARTA doesn’t give him up without a fight. As for Scott, I assume the next transit agency whose desk her resume graces will check her references a little better. And lastly, from Atlanta to Boston, we’re sorry for the damaged export, though I don’t think we can offer a refund.

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8 Comments

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  1. I couldn’t in my right mind defend the job the Scott has done this winter, but dismissing issues with the “fiscal infrastructure” is a mistake. That is THE problem.

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  2. There is only so much that the director of a transit department can do. Currently the MBTA is running a multi-billion dollar deficit (present before Scott arrived on scene), and political leadership plans to cut another 40 million dollars from its operating budget.

    So you have a chronically over-burdened and under-funded transit system barely functioning, and people are looking for folks to blame. It’s misguided to place the blame on Scott, as the political leadership has demonstrated a complete lack of motivation to act and rectify the current sorry state of the MBTA.

    I rarely take the T, instead preferring my bike to get around Boston, but to say this is Scotts fault is laughable and folks around here are simply looking for a scapegoat to pin this on so they can keep their cushy govt. positions.

    Blame Walsh, blame our state reps, blame God for all this damn snow, but you leave Beverly alone!

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  3. It wasn’t God, lack of funding or anything else that gave away some snow fighting equipment and left other machines on storage rails for lack of repair. It was Dr. Scott and her team. Possibly, she should have looked at a map. This is Boston not Atlanta. It snows a lot here in the winter and snow fighting equipment is necessary. Men with shovels hand digging out almost ten miles of right of way just doesn’t get it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Author of this article, you have no clue what you are talking about with respect to the MBTA. Personally I don’t give a rats behind about Dr Scott’s tenure in Atlanta, but I can assure you that any problems at the T pre dated her arrival, and will continue long after she is gone. I’d be the first person to throw her under the bus if it were deserved, but she is not responsible for the T’s problems, the Legislature is by not properly funding the agency and saddling it with billions of dollars in “Big Dig” mitigation projects , you remember the Big Dig…16 BILLION dollars before interest on the bonds… and among other unfunded mandates was a BILLION dollars plus for 9 miles of light rail nobody needed or wanted, and billions for commuter rail projects to restore lines abandoned in the 1950’s.

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    • Sounds like this Patrick O’Malley guy works for the union. Probably one of the guys that argued that Red Line trains require a second conductor to sit on his ass all day riding around opening doors. He probably lives in Southie, too. Massholes are always itching to pay more taxes.

      She’s a poor manager, plain and simple. She ran a 30-year-old system into the ground and then followed it up with 100-year-old system. Good riddance.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Buford, I’m a union guy but as you can see by the comment above I don’t think much of Dr. Scotts leadership skills. I am Irish and I do come from Southie so you’re correct on at least two things. Winters can be difficult up here so when you are working in below zero temperatures competency by your leadership is a plus. Let me remind you that it was union people that cleared the right of way in four days after Dr. Scott declared it would take thirty

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