In case you missed it, WBUR’s team of Chakrabarti and McNerney have even yet still another chapter in the fascinating story of Luis Ramirez — or more properly, of the people who hired him for the MBTA. The head-hunting firm that found Ramirez apparently was not explicitly required to investigate his regulatory record at Global Power LLC. And wouldn’t you know it, it looks like they never did it.
At least, one would have to assume that they didn’t, seeing as Ramirez’s company had to restate erroneous earnings reports made while he was CEO. You’d think that would be a major red flag to transportation chief Pollack and Gov. Baker.
More baffling is that Sec. Pollack and Baker continue to insist that Ramirez is just the person for the job. I’m going to flog this horse until it’s dead; we apparently have:
- A transit chief with no transit experience.
- A head of a $2 billion governmental entity (and notorious political football) with no governmental experience.
- A “turnaround specialist” who in his one turn truly at the steering wheel, apparently turned the company into a ditch, requiring a downward earnings adjustment of $58M.
But hey, the headhunter apparently said he doesn’t actually have a criminal record, so it’s all good!
Today the Red Line faced “moderate” delays due to “a little fire on the tracks”, as our conductor put it with charming understatement. An apt metaphor for the state of Baker’s and Pollack’s credibility on their new hire.
I don’t want to play the role of this guy’s defender, but I’m not sure it would occur to me to check this guy’s environmental record. Did someone explicitly say NOT to check it? If so that would be more interesting.
You meant “regulatory”, rather than “environmental”, right?
I think if you’re hiring somebody to run a $2B high-profile government agency, you want to be at least a LITTLE bit interested in a candidate’s regulatory background. Not for every candidate, but for a finalist? Yes, I think you do.
I saw this in the piece cited in the thread-starter (emphasis mine):
Really? The candidate mentions a shareholder lawsuit, and STILL no regulatory check?
There’s also this tasty little tidbit:
Read the piece in the thread-starter. Each paragraph is an eye-opener.
Trickle up says
Here’s the thing, Jim.
Ramerez’s claim to this job is that he’s an extraordinary guy who does not need to have the usual experience, because of his extraordinariness. Which has to do with being a turnaround specialist, which just trumps having experience, or knowledge about transit or public service or anything other than turnaround-ism
OK, it does sound a little fishy when I put it that way, I’ll admit. But that is actually not my point.
My point is even if you put aside the fishy part and accept that okay, these are extraordinary times such that turnaround wizardry counts more than actual experience, then that is this guy’s ticket.
So yeah, extreme vetting is called for in relation to the one thing that is his claim to be extraordinary.
So even if you decide that this funny regulatory business (NB: financial, not environmental) is ultimately not such a big deal, the fact that nobody knew because nobody asked is, well, extraordinary.
Well put Trickle.
Mark L. Bail says
Our school system once hired a superintendent search consultant for several thousand dollars. She came up with three finalists. One was normal, but was never able to get a job as a superintendent. The one that was eventually hired was disastrous and has never lasted two contracts in any position. The last one was a New York principal that had a “nervous breakdown” and then proceeded to sue his school system for discrimination. The consultant knew none of this, though it was easily found through a google search.
I’m very skeptical of professional these consultants.