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Battenfeld: First major shake-up of Healey administration shrouded in mystery

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Transportation Secretary Gina Fiandaca’s departure was an open secret days ago but the reasons for her quick exit remain shrouded in mystery thanks to the non-responsive Healey administration.

Fiandaca was clearly forced out after just eight months on the job — the first major shakeup of the first-term governor’s tenure — yet Healey attempted to praise the MassDot boss on the way out the door.

The governor “wishes her well in all of her future endeavors” – a statement that usually means someone has just been pushed out. But the statement says nothing about why she’s leaving. No explanation whatsoever.

“She hit the ground running and has delivered on many of our key transportation priorities,” Healey said in her statement.

In reality, Fiandaca never delivered on the most important priority – improving the T and holding the agency accountable.

Healey spokeswoman Karissa Hand refused to even respond to repeated inquiries by the Herald about Fiandaca on Friday evening when word was leaking out the decision had already been made to let her go.

This from the supposed “transparent” Healey administration is just the latest move by the governor to withhold important information from the public, including emails from top brass. Healey has been a huge disappointment when it comes to transparency.

Some believe Fiandaca’s departure was engineered by “shadow GM” Tom Glynn, the chair of the MBTA Board of Directors and the former Massport boss.

Glynn critics say he has had a larger than expected role in all transportation matters and has the governor’s ear – something Fiandaca apparently didn’t have. Does he want to be transportation secretary himself?

Whether it was Glynn or T GM Phillip Eng or Healey herself who pushed Fiandaca isn’t clear but the Transportation boss clearly had a rocky few months on the job.

The T continued its miserable performance under Fiandaca and it certainly didn’t help that she gave a nearly $1 million no-bid contract to her former brother-in-law, William Bratton. Healey was not happy with that contract and it may still be under investigation – again we don’t really know.

Except for the Sumner Tunnel closure, Fiandaca has been virtually invisible on important transportation issues since the story first came out about Bratton’s contract. That did not bode well for her future.

The next question is how much taxpayer money will go out the door to give Fiandaca the door.

Healey officials say the Transportation chief will remain on the payroll as an “adviser” for the rest of the year but it’s unclear if she will still be earning her full $181,722 salary, and if she will be handed a golden parachute package.

We’ll see how the “fully transparent” Healey administration delivers on that one.

Workers install panels inside the Sumner Tunnel. It's another headache drivers must deal with this summer. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald

Workers install panels inside the Sumner Tunnel. It’s another headache drivers must deal with this summer. (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald)

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