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Milton

Noise complaint gets MassPort cold shoulder

Paul Yovino watches outside his Milton home as a plane passes overhead on approach to Logan Airport. When he called MassPort’s hotline, Yovino says, he was treated rudely.

Colm O’Molloy for The Boston Globe

Paul Yovino watches outside his Milton home as a plane passes overhead on approach to Logan Airport. When he called MassPort’s hotline, Yovino says, he was treated rudely.

Milton resident Paul Yovino, a regular caller to Logan Airport’s noise complaint hotline, said he was treated rudely during a call last Sunday, and subsequently received an apology.

After being awakened by early morning flights a week ago, Yovino called MassPort’s Noise Complaint Line. On his second call of the morning, Yovino said, the operator said he was not recording the call and then placed him on hold. But Yovino said he was able to hear the operator continue to talk.

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According to Yovino, the operator used an obscene term in saying how callers should be treated, and added that to really upset callers, “tell them there is a security emergency at the airport and put them on hold forever.”

Yovino lives under the path of one of Logan’s busiest runways and, like many other Milton residents, has frequently complained about jet noise since the airport altered flight patterns this past summer. In July, calls from Milton surpassed those from any other town and made up about half of the calls to the hotline.

After his call last Sunday, Yovino contacted state Senator Brian A. Joyce, who then got in touch with MassPort, which operates Logan. Joyce, a Milton Democrat, said he also learned of another call from a Milton resident who was treated rudely.

“I got on the phone with MassPort and said this is unacceptable,” Joyce said Tuesday. “Those of us in public service all owe a duty of courteousness to the people we serve.”

MassPort spokesman Richard Walsh said MassPort officials reached out to Yovino and apologized.

“He received what we felt was not the best customer service,” Walsh said Tuesday.

What disturbed Yovino most is that his call was not being recorded and that the employee was advocating fabricating a security emergency. But Walsh said neither of those were the case.

“When the person called Sunday, there was an emergency on the air field and a plane was returning with a mechanical issue,” Walsh said.

He added that a record is taken of all calls to the Noise Complaint Line.

The complaint line is staffed during business hours; during nights and weekends, calls are forwarded to the communications center, Walsh said.

“General practice at airports is you call into voice mail; at Logan you can actually talk to somebody, so that’s pretty unique,” Walsh said.

After speaking with MassPort CEO Thomas Glynn, Joyce wrote to a group of Milton residents concerned about airplane noise and reported that the person who took Yovino’s call was disciplined. Walsh said the person was not fired, but he declined to comment further.

Dave Eisenstadter can be reached at eisen.globe@gmail.com.
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