WITH LESS THAN a month before a new governor takes over, the MassDevelopment board of directors approved a long-term contract extension for Daniel Rivera, the authority’s president and chief executive officer.

A spokesman for the authority confirmed the board on Wednesday extended the contract of Rivera until June 30, 2026, and said the vote was unanimous. He provided no additional information and there was no announcement of the extension on the MassDevelopment website.

Rivera, a Democrat, is the former mayor of Lawrence and a close political ally of Gov. Charlie Baker. He endorsed Baker’s reelection bid in 2018 and served on the governor’s COVID-19 reopening task force.

Rivera was elected to two terms as mayor of Lawrence but left the  post a year early to take the helm at MassDevelopment on January 1, 2021. He was nominated for the job by Baker.

MassDevelopment is a quasi-independent state authority, but the governor wields enormous influence over its operations. He appointed all of the current board members and the board’s chair is Mike Kennealy, the governor’s secretary of housing and economic development.

A spokeswoman for Maura Healey did not respond to emailed questions about whether the governor-elect was consulted about the contract extension.

Rivera, according to state records, makes an annual salary of $235,000. It was unclear if the contract extension approved by the board was accompanied by any other changes in his contract terms.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. The agency was formed in 1998 from the merger of the Government Land Bank and the Massachusetts Industrial Finance Agency. It provides low-cost financing for a wide range of businesses and organizations, redevelops surplus properties, and promotes the state’s Gateway Cities.

BRUCE MOHL

 

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One-vote margin: Democrat Kristin Kassner edges Republican Lenny Mirra by just one vote in a recount of their state rep race. Mirra, who led by 10 votes after the election, says he will challenge the recount result in court. Read more.

OPINION

No backing down: Massachusetts Republican Party chair Jim Lyons doesn’t sound like he’s planning to step down in a fundraising letter he sent out Thursday night. Read more.

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STORIES FROM ELSEWHERE AROUND THE WEB

 

BEACON HILL

On his last show as governor with GBH hosts Jim Braude and Margery Egan, Gov. Charlie Baker takes calls from Gov.-elect Maura Healey, former governor William Weld, and US Labor Secretary and former Boston mayor Marty Walsh. (GBH)

Tax relief will likely top governor-elect Maura Healey’s agenda. (Gloucester Daily Times)

Secretary of State Bill Galvin has a tax relief plan of his own – a proposal to tweak the just-enacted millionaires tax that would exempt some longtime homeowners from the levy. (Boston Globe

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

The Food and Drug administration approves updated COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5. (NPR)

A potentially harmful bacteria has been found in tap water at the Franciscan Children’s hospital in Brighton. (Boston Globe

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

The House passes the Respect for Marriage Act and sends the bill along to President Biden, who is expected to sign it into law. (NPR)

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema says she is switching her party affiliation from Democrat to Independent. (CNN)

WNBA star Brittney Griner arrives in Texas after being released from a Russian prison in a swap for a notorious Russian arms dealer who had been serving a 25-year sentence in the US. (Washington Post

ELECTIONS

Former Pittsfield City Council vice president John Krol and current City Council President Peter Marchetti say they intend to run for mayor next year. The incumbent, Linda Tyer, says she has made a decision about whether to run or not but hasn’t released it publicly yet. (Berkshire Eagle)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The Gaming Commission approves the first sports betting license, for in-person betting at Encore Boston Harbor. (MassLive)

EDUCATION

Massachusetts Teachers Association President Max Page says the union’s priorities for the coming legislative session include securing the right for teachers to strike and ending the “destructive and punitive aspects of the MCAS system.” (State House News Service)

UMass Chan Medical School will expand into Burlington with a regional medical campus after signing an agreement with Lahey Hospital and Medical Center. (Telegram & Gazette)

Former Palmer school superintendent Patricia Gardner, whose tenure was marred by controversies, found a new job working in special education. (MassLive)

Boston College will ban e-scooters on campus. (Boston Globe)

TRANSPORTATION

Advocates plan to renew the call for a North-South rail link with the incoming administration. A spokeswoman for Gov.-elect Maura Healey says she’s “learning more” about the project – which has been in and out of the public eye for decades. (Boston Herald

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Nahant wins approval from the US Department of Agriculture for a plan to hire sharpshooters to kill coyotes in the community. (Daily Item)

The EPA says the company dismantling the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth cannot discharge contaminated water into Cape Cod Bay without a permit to do so. (WBUR)

There are growing calls for accountability and transparency in plans for a new “peaker” plant in Peabody. (Salem News)

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MEDIA

The New England Newspaper and Press Association announces its 2022 Publick Occurrences awards and Newspapers of the Year awards

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