Mass transit investigates pro ties in wake of scandal

BOSTON: A mid-August outing by several members of the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) consulting team - a ’booze cruise’ on taxpayer dollars - has done more than merely tarnish the group’s image.

BOSTON: A mid-August outing by several members of the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) consulting team - a ’booze cruise’ on taxpayer dollars - has done more than merely tarnish the group’s image.

BOSTON: A mid-August outing by several members of the Massachusetts

Port Authority (Massport) consulting team - a ’booze cruise’ on taxpayer

dollars - has done more than merely tarnish the group’s image.



Following director Peter Blute’s resignation and the appointment of

Virginia Buckingham as his replacement, Massport has undertaken a review

of its consultant contracts, a move that may result in the ouster of PR

pros who have been advising the group.



According to a September 12 Boston Globe article, nearly a dozen

’politically connected Republicans’ hold ’lucrative and, in some cases,

questionable consultant contracts’ ranging from dollars 1,000 to dollars

120,000. ’All of the contracts will be reviewed to ensure that the money

is being well-spent,’ said Massport communications chief Jose Juves.



Among the agreements under scrutiny are a dollars 120,000 annual

contract with Raymond Howell, principal of Howell Communications and an

advisor to Governor Paul Cellucci and former Governor William Weld; a

six-month, dollars 24,000 deal with Mayor Menino advisor Edward Jesser;

and a dollars 6,000 contract held by lobbying consultant David McCool.

All three were overseeing a communications strategy for Logan Airport’s

proposed new runway.



Of the three, Howell is the only PR pro currently working with Massport,

as Jesser’s contract expired in June and McCool’s services were

terminated as a result of his appearance on the party boat.



’It’s Massport’s decision, not mine,’ said Howell, whose annual contract

with the authority expires at the end of December. ’I’ve added a lot of

value to the agency and I hope that they agree.’



While Massport has taken a beating in the press for Blute’s recent

escapades, Juves said that future plans do not include a reputation

management campaign.



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