The state’s economic development finance agency board has extended the contract of its president to keep the Gov. Charlie Baker appointee in place through most of Gov.-elect Maura Healey’s term.
Baker nominated Dan Rivera to serve as president and CEO of MassDevelopment in January 2021, and his contract was due to expire in June 2023, but a MassDevelopment Board of Directors vote last week extended the length of his contract until June 2026.
If Rivera’s contract had ended in 2023, the board would have appointed a new CEO. For the last two presidents to hold the position, Baker first nominated them before the board made the appointment.
When asked if Gov.-elect Healey had planned to nominate someone to the president and CEO role before Rivera’s contract was extended, a Healey spokesperson said “we’re not going to comment for now.”
The vote to extend Rivera’s contract did not include any salary change, a MassDevelopment spokesperson said. State records show that the MassDevelopment president made $235,000 in 2022.
Before joining MassDevelopment last year, Rivera served as mayor of Lawrence for seven years. Rivera crossed party lines in 2018 to endorse the Republican governor’s re-election bid and more recently served on Baker’s COVID-19 reopening task force.
The MassDevelopment Board, chaired by Baker’s Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, passed the contract extension unanimously at a meeting on Dec. 7 with no abstentions.
Rivera did not respond to a voice message left on his cellphone Tuesday afternoon asking about his contract extension and his plans for MassDevelopment over the next several years.
Under Rivera’s tenure at MassDevelopment, he has overseen the expansion of a state program that aims to speed up private investment and development in specific areas of Gateway Cities. Along with Kennealy and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Rivera announced in February that they would double the size of the Transformative Development Initiative and pump $23.7 million into the program.
More recently, MassDevelopment agreed to help steer part of the nearly $169 million in U.S. Treasury funds coming to Massachusetts through the State Small Business Credit Initiative toward funding loans for small businesses and entrepreneurs, along with other quasi-public agencies Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation and MassVentures.
The Baker administration announced the new initiative earlier this month, tapping MassDevelopment to use the federal funding injection for loans for real estate and equipment improvements.