July 5 2017

MassDOT Administrator Whose Work Impacted Burlington Resigns After Illness

By: Rich Hosford

A dedicated public servant whose wide-ranging work impacted Burlington among a long list of other communities has decided to resign after being hospitalized with a serious illness.

MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack announced on Wednesday that Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin has decided to resign from MassDOT.

Mr. Tinlin was scheduled to return to his work as Highway Administrator this week after being off the job since May 1. He joined MassDOT in January 2014 as its Chief of Operations and Maintenance and in March 2015 was promoted to Highway Administrator.

“I am grateful for the excellent care I received after suffering from a subarachnoid brain aneurysm rupture and would like to publicly thank Dr. Ajith Thomas and all of the doctors and nurses at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for returning me to 100 percent so I can start the next chapter of my life as a healthy husband and father,” he said during the announcement.

He added that leaving the department was not an easy decision to reach.

“While I am excited about what lies ahead, this has been a difficult decision,” he said. “I have truly loved serving the people of the Commonwealth, and the City of Boston, and have taken pride in my public service roles for decades. And I am grateful for all the mentors I have had along the way.”

Massachusetts’ top public official praised Tinlin’s work for the Commonwealth.

“From grueling snowstorms to toll demolitions, Tom Tinlin was there to see our highway projects through on time and on budget and he always brought his sense of humor and kindness to the job,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “He worked tirelessly to support the Commonwealth’s commuters to ensure everyone got to their destinations quickly and safely in every corner of the state.  On behalf of the entire Administration, I thank him for his service and wish him the best of luck toward future endeavors.”

Locally, 21st Middlesex State Rep. Ken Gordon, whose district includes Burlington, said Tinlin’s resignation is a loss for the region.

I am truly saddened to hear that Tom Tinlin has resigned his position as MassDOT Highway Administrator due to a serious illness,” he said in a Facebook post. “He was a friend to our district. Bedford folks may remember he is the person who took charge of the Salt Shed situation, promised a meaningful response to concerns voiced by residents, and then delivered by agreeing to a new location. Burlington folks should know he helped facilitate the Route 128 widening that is occurring right now and will ease some traffic congestion. He was a dedicated, effective public servant and we will feel his absence.”

MassDOT said in a blog post that Tinlin accomplished a lot during his tenure in the position.

“Since Mr. Tinlin joined MassDOT, new initiatives were launched by the Highway Division, including Complete Streets which provides money to communities for street infrastructure work, and the Municipal Small Bridge Program, a several year $50 million program to aid towns and cities in replacing or renovating small municipally-owned bridges,” the release from MassDOT states. “Under his leadership, in October 2016, the state transitioned from manual to all-electronic toll collections, a project which involved, in part, having specific design, management and road reconstruction plans in 23 work zones from the New York border to Boston. In addition, Mr. Tinlin oversaw the introduction by MassDOT of technology to modernize highway operations and provide new tools to the public to use for travel, including ‘real-time’ travel to destination highway signs and the 511 system. In managing the Highway Division staff of more than 2,500, Mr. Tinlin embraced a multi-modal approach to roadway design and led the implementation of transportation plans for countless planned and unplanned events for the Commonwealth.”

Jonathan Gulliver will continue in the role of Acting Highway Administrator through September.  Gulliver was named Acting Administrator in May after it was announced that Mr. Tinlin would take time off to address a medical issue.  Prior to being named Acting Administrator, Gulliver had served as Director of Highway Division District 3.


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