T Safety Chief Fired After Raising ‘Critical’ Issues

A day after allegations surfaced that the MBTA fired a senior employee because he raised safety concerns, Gov. Charlie Baker said he stood via the business enterprise’s choice however declined to speak about the problem in detail.

The Boston Globe mentioned Sunday that former MBTA Chief Safety Officer Ron Nickle filed a federal complaint alleging officials on the organization attempted to “undermine” his enforcement of safety policies and sought to suppress findings to keep away from public scrutiny.

Baker stood by the March firing.

“It’s complicated to talk about employees issues, however, I will say this: I changed into briefed by means of the T in this choice and primarily based on that, I aid the decision they made to terminate him,” Baker informed reporters at an unrelated event on the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Baker declined to tricky on reasons for the firing, pronouncing that Nickle’s allegations could likely “turn out to be related to a few forms of criminal dispute.” He stated the MBTA is still safe, although, pointing to investments in a federally mandated anti-collision era and other infrastructure enhancements.

The Globe suggested that Nickle had filed a ninety seven-web page grievance with the Federal Transit Administration over his termination, claiming the decision become retaliation for highlighting risks on the MBTA.

Asked approximately the allegations, a T spokeswoman said Nickle’s account is “replete with mischaracterizations and falsehoods” however that official could still assessment his complaint.

In the wake of the Globe’s record, legal professional Charles Goetsch, who’s representing Nickle in a related Occupational Safety and Health Administration whistleblower grievance, wrote in a blog put up that the former leader safety officer was fired simply someday after raising worries to federal authorities.

“On the morning of March 21st, Ron Nickle met with the Federal Transit Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, and State DPU to record on the results of his safety audits and inspections. He highlighted essential safety issues and discussed corrective movements to be taken,” Goetsch wrote. “The next morning the MBTA referred to like him right into a meeting and terminated him, giving no cause other than a desire ‘to transport in a different direction.’ ”

Nickle’s allegations are the ultra-modern controversy at an enterprise already going through criticism for its management, educate derailments, and common service delays and disruptions.

A June eleven derailment at the Red Line, the 5th this year and the twenty-fourth on an MBTA passenger educate due to the fact the beginning of 2015, prompted such full-size harm that delays will persist as a minimum thru the summertime. While investigators are looking carefully at the 50-12 months-old train itself, they nevertheless have no longer introduced a purpose of the incident.

Meanwhile, more Boston commuters in large part seem like bored stiff with the state of public transit. Only 14 percent of respondents in a ballot ultimate month said they accept as true with MBTA provider has progressed for the reason that substantial shutdowns in the iciness of 2015 brought on reforms.

Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair Gus Bickford, who has slammed Baker’s coping with of the T within the beyond, said Monday that reporting approximately Nickle’s proceedings “indicates that the Baker management knew approximately severe protection issues and engaged in a coverup to cover those problems from public view.”

“Instead of taking steps to in reality accurate the problems recognized with the aid of one of the top MBTA officials, the Baker administration used intimidation methods to silence the worker from speakme out,” Bickford stated in a press release. “Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with the scenario concerning the firing of the former head of the Environmental Police, silencing folks who bring inconvenient information forward seems to be a page right out of the Baker/Polito Playbook.”

Shannon Liss-Riordan, a exertions attorney tough U.S. Sen. Ed Markey in a Democratic number one, known as for a congressional hearing to investigate the allegations “as well as the overall management failures and safety practices on the MBTA.”

Goetsch could not offer a copy of Nickle’s criticism with the FTA, but consistent with the Globe’s story, Nickle alleged that MBTA officials — which includes Deputy General Manager Jeff Gonneville — compelled him to tone down his protection reports to keep away from drawing public criticism.

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