BOSTON (SHNS) – A former EPA administrator, the head of a major business group, and a former MBTA Board member are among the appointees that Gov.-elect Maura Healey has chosen to help lead six policy committees on a transition effort that will be directed by Danielle Cerny.
The committees are built around the topics of housing, transportation, climate and energy, jobs and the economy, youth and young adults, and safe and healthy communities. The topics alone shed light on areas where Healey is likely developing governing plans before she takes office in January, and her appointees offer some insight into people that Healey trusts to help advance her agenda, both immediately and perhaps into 2023.
The transition team said those six policy areas “were identified as having urgent needs that the new administration must address to move Massachusetts forward, as well as presenting powerful opportunities to foster collaboration across sectors and issue areas to drive progress.” The committees are expected to produce a “timeline for action, resources to leverage, and metrics to measure effectiveness.”
Cerny, the newly-announced transition director, is a former deputy chief of staff to former Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo and most recently served as a visiting fellow at the Rappaport Institute. In September, she interviewed Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito at a public event for the lieutenant governor to take stock of the last eight years of state-local government relations.
Cerny has ties to Massachusetts state government and the Baker administration. She was constituent affairs director and legislative director to former Sen. Susan Fargo, and she worked from mid-2014 to mid-2015 (the end of the Patrick administration and early months of the Baker administration) as social innovation finance manager at the Executive Office of Administration and Finance. Her tenure working with Raimondo in Rhode Island included a year and a half as chief performance officer before eight months as deputy chief of staff.
The transition’s “How We Get Around” committee will be led by two former MBTA insiders: former MassDOT board member and MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board Vice Chair Monica Tibbits-Nutt, and former Massport CEO and MBTA General Manager Thomas Glynn. That policy group will focus on “safe, reliable, affordable” statewide transportation infrastructure. Tibbits-Nutt is currently executive director of the 128 Business Council, and Glynn, who managed the T under Gov. Michael Dukakis, is an adjunct lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School.
An “Affordable, Abundant Housing” panel will be chaired by Housing Assistance Corporation CEO Alisa Magnotta, Way Finders CEO Keith Fairey, and Stephen Davis, co-president of real estate firm The Davis Companies.
Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Lizzi Weyant of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council will co-chair a “Climate Readiness, Resiliency and Adaptation” committee. McCarthy, who was EPA administrator in the Obama administration, earlier in her career served under Republican governors as assistant secretary of the state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs.
A jobs and economy panel will feature leaders with workforce development, business, and union perspectives: Massachusetts AFL-CIO Chief of Staff Chrissy Lynch, Mass. Business Roundtable CEO JD Chesloff, Berkshire Black Economic Council President A.J. Enchill, and Bunker Hill Community College President Pam Eddinger.
Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Rachel Monárrez and Latinos For Education CEO Amanda Fernandez will lead a policy committee looking at how to “address learning loss from the pandemic and give all children and families equitable access to the educational, social, emotional and behavioral supports they need.”
And former Boston Civic Engagement Chief Aisha Miller, who started this year as a vice president at real estate firm Related Beal, will lead a “Safe And Healthy Communities For All Ages” policy group with Mass. League of Community Health Centers CEO Michael Curry. Curry co-chaired the Legislature’s Health Equity Task Force in 2020-2021. That committee’s agenda includes looking at ways to increase “access to critical community health resources, including mental health supports and substance use recovery services.”
“The goal of this transition is to support and build a talented team that’s prepared to begin to deliver for people on day one,” said Lt. Gov.-elect Kim Driscoll, who chairs the transition.