President Truman was fond of saying “the buck stops here.” Taking responsibility for problems that occurred within his administration was an important part of his leadership style. But taking responsibility did not mean his resignation or
impeachment; and that was a good thing for the country.
Prompted by the appearance of a lack of transparency following the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) handling of a light fixture problem in a Big Dig tunnel, the Secretary and CEO of MassDOT, Jeff Mullan, has recently come under
fire. The Secretary has taken responsibility for the problem and is working to resolve many of the challenges that come with merging multiple transportation agencies.
Let us not forget the size and complexity of MassDOT and this task. It demands leadership and people skills, as well as an understanding of transportation policy issues, that few people have.
Secretary Mullan, who has been involved in Massachusetts transportation issues for more than 20 years, brings a business-like approach to state transportation. He was a key author of the massive transportation reform plan and has worked diligently to implement significant changes in culture and policy.
We cannot afford to lose such a committed public servant. If I were the Governor, I would make it clear that his resignation will not be accepted. There is much work to be done – from completing the massive overhaul of this agency, to investing in key transportation projects to spur economic growth, to completing the deferred repair of our aging roads and bridges.
Mr. Secretary, let the buck stop at your desk, but stick around and help the Commonwealth with your strong leadership, commitment, and willingness to be held accountable.