Metro

MBTA union says Governor is wrong about armored car sunroofs

Boston Carmen’s Union

An MBTA armored car.

The Boston Carmen’s Union on Friday pushed back against Governor Charlie Baker’s claim that someone had cut unauthorized sunroofs into armored cars used by Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority workers.

The union on Friday called the statement “pure fiction,” and released photographs of a partial fiberglass ceiling on the tops of the armored cars.

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“These trucks have the exact same roofs from when they were purchased two decades ago,” Boston Carmen’s Union president James O’Brien said in a statement. “This baseless allegation is proof that this Administration will do anything to try to justify privatization.”

Baker mentioned the sunroof Wednesday as part of a wide-ranging speech detailing the progress the administration has made on improving the beleaguered agency.

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On Friday, Billy Pitman, a spokesman for the governor’s office, defended the governor’s statement, saying it was “consistent” with an independent audit that showed the roofs had been altered after they had been bought.

“The facts are clear: the money room’s operations are sub-par at best, from the alarms to the doors, and to the trucks, it is clear the status quo cannot continue at the MBTA,” he wrote in a statement, adding that the administration would continue to push to use privatization as a way to “reform the MBTA.”

The MBTA has not made a copy of the audit available to the Globe.

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The back-and-forth about the sunroofs on armored cars come as Baker and MBTA officials make moves to privatize the agency’s cash-counting operation, known at the agency as “the money room.” On Friday, the agency released a request for proposals asking companies to bid on taking over the operation.

In recent weeks, the agency released several details from the audit that showed security lapses, such as duct-taped doors to the agency’s money vault, and doors being propped open in a facility that is supposed to be secure. The agency also quitely replaced several Transit Police officers with security guards from the private company, G4S.

Seven drivers in the department who use the armored trucks to collect cash across the Boston region have also received notices that said they would no longer have jobs in the money room, but they could return to their previous jobs as bus drivers for the T.

Nicole Dungca can be reached at nicole.dungca@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ndungca.
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