Numbers from Governor Charlie Baker's MBTA advisory report have come under fire for potentially exaggerating the number of sick days taken by employees and the missed trips that resulted. But the discrepancy is too small to change the findings of the report, Baker said Tuesday on Boston Public Radio.
"Whether you want to say it's 9, 10, or 11% absenteeism every day...I think that's a difference without distinction. To me, that doesn't matter very much," Baker said.
According to the report, employees of the T missed an average of 57 working days per year, but that includes holidays and vacation time. The real number of unplanned sick days, some charge, may be less than half that.
Baker said the numbers point toward fundamental problems faced by the MBTA, including absenteeism and wasteful budgeting.
"Even the Carmen's Union has said there's a problem with respect to absenteeism," he said. "They're leaving money on the table. No one disputes that either."
Making his case for a proposed independent fiscal control board for the MBTA, Baker argued that the existing DOT board oversees too many responsibilities—including highways, roads, and airports—and meets too infrequently to be able to effectively address the T's issues. The DOT board meets once per month.
"I consider the T to be an entity that needs a lot more attention than one-fifth of the time of this board that meets once a month," he said.
Waiting On An Olympics Plan
Baker reiterated his desire to see a detailed plan on venue locations and costs from Boston 2024 before the U.S. Olympic Committee submits the bid to the International Olympic Committee in September.
"I've been saying for a long time here that I want to see a plan, a detailed plan that you and everyone else in the commonwealth can vet sometime in June," he said.
A major point of contention is whether or not the bid will include a financial guarantee that the host city—and taxpayers—willcover any cost overruns incurred during the Games. Baker, who vowed previously to only sign off on a bid if taxpayer money was used solely to pay for infrastructure, said he would have difficulty supporting a bid with a financial guarantee included.
"It would be pretty hard," he said.
To hear more from Governor Baker, tune in to Boston Public Radio above.