Thomas P. Glynn, a longtime manager in high-profile public and private sector positions, has been selected as the new chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Port Authority, the powerful agency that runs Logan Airport and the port of Boston, people familiar with the selection say.
The selection of Glynn, 66, of Belmont ends a 15-month search to fill the post. The Massport board of directors is expected to vote on Glynn’s appointment at its next meeting, on Sept. 20.
Glynn’s long career in public service includes stints as deputy commissioner of the state Department of Public Welfare, MBTA general manager, and the US deputy labor secretary. He served until recently as chief operating officer of Partners HealthCare, the state’s largest hospital network, which includes Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Glynn, currently a public policy lecturer at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, could not be reached for comment. Michael Angelini, the Massport board chairman, did not return calls. A spokesman for Massport declined to comment.
Glynn would replace Thomas Kinton Jr., who announced his retirement in February 2011, and left the job in June 2011, after more than 30 years at the agency. Shortly before his departure, the board was due to vote on a $22,000 increase to Kinton’s $295,000 salary; Governor Deval Patrick, who appoints the board members, blocked it.
Since then, David S. Mackey, Massport’s longtime general counsel, has served as acting chief executive.
The terms of the job offer to Glynn were not known outside a small group of Patrick administration and Massport insiders.
Recruiting a new chief executive has not been an easy process. At one point a frustrated board replaced the recruiting firm it had hired. One factor in prolonging the search may have been the salary. Patrick has made significant cuts in the compensation offered officials at several authorities, after ordering a review of pay and perks at dozens of quasi-public agencies in 2010.
The battle over Kinton’s pay raise has been widely viewed as the catalyst for his departure. When he left, he was eligible for $459,000 in unused sick time and a pension of at least $195,000 a year, fueling the controversy over excessive compensation.
Last year, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority executive director James E. Rooney, who oversees the city’s two main convention halls, agreed to a 9 percent pay cut. Under the terms of his new contract, his base salary was reduced from $276,000 to $250,000 a year. The administration has cut salaries at several other agencies as their leadership has changed.
Glynn is close with Mayor Thomas Menino, who has relied on Glynn as an informal adviser on health care and as a sometime mediator of labor disputes.
“If the rumor is true, the governor has made an excellent choice,” Menino said in an interview. “This is the eighth busiest airport in the country. Tom Glynn brings private sector experience, the years he spent at Partners, with the development of the hospital. He was able to work with the community.
“He knows how to negotiate with the community on difficult issues,” Menino added. “He also has public sector experience. He was deputy secretary of labor. He knows how to work with labor to get through the issues that are important to them. With all the possibilities you have at Massport, he’s the person who can lead them in this critical time in history. I have confidence in his ability.”
Earlier in his career, Glynn, who is close to former state transportation secretary Frederick Salvucci, ran the MBTA. He later became a deputy labor secretary under Robert Reich, a former Harvard University professor and US secretary of labor who later ran for governor.
Though Glynn’s Massport salary has not been disclosed, it will be considerably less than he earned at Partners HealthCare. According to publicly available records, Glynn was paid $1.2 million by the hospital network in 2010.
One Massport board member, Kathryn West, worked with Glynn at Partners HealthCare. West is vice president of real estate and facilities at Partners, according to the Massport website. When Glynn was at the MBTA, West served as his director of real estate development.
Naming a Massport chief executive would eliminate one of two vacancies in key transportation positions. The search goes on for a general manager of the MBTA, where Jonathan Davis has led the public transit agency on an interim basis since last year.
The boards of Massport and MassDOT, which select the top managers, are appointees of the governor.
Glynn, who teaches public sector management at the Kennedy School at Harvard, has a bachelor’s degree from Tufts and a doctorate from Brandeis. He once served as a senior vice president of finance and administration at Brown University.