DEVENS -- MassDevelopment is once again quashing any notions that it might leave Devens before 2033, after Harvard Selectman Leo Blair pointed out what he called a contingency plan for the agency.
Referencing minutes from a December 2013 meeting of the MassDevelopment Board of Directors, Blair told the rest of the board last week that the chief financial officer presented a contingent exit strategy for 2019.
The minutes reveal a presentation of the Devens Cash Flow Projections from fiscal years 2014-2019, with input from CFO Simon Gerlin.
"Mr. Gerlin advised that by 2019 MassDevelopment will be very near to completing its mission in Devens and staff time there could be scaled back and/or turned to other tasks; Mr. Ramirez agreed," the minutes read.
In a phone interview, Gerlin clarified that the discussion reflected in the minutes revolved around Boston-based staff.
The amount of time the agency's Boston-based staff spends in Devens will slowly decrease as Devens grows out, Gerlin said.
But he said there will certainly be continued full staffing in Devens for the foreseeable future, and there is "absolutely not" any contingency plan for an early exit.
"The build-out will not be completed by 2019, and we have no intention of doing anything by 2019," he said.
Boston-based staff can include real estate employees or those who work on MassDevelopment's finance programs, explained MassDevelopment spokesman Kelsey Abbruzzese.
"Over time, with the various work that's been happening in Devens, people like that just haven't needed to spend as much time out there," she said.
Work still remains for staff in Boston, she said, just not as much as there was in earlier years.
But Blair argues that MassDevelopment is looking at different contingencies, which include reducing staff at Devens in 2019.
"It's clear from reading the minutes that the projection was tied to the assumption, one assumption, that they reduce staff and move out in 2019," he said.
"He's (Gerlin is) saying that based on our projections, we think that by 2019 we could eliminate and reduce staff in Devens and do everything out of Boston," Blair argued. "All I'm saying is they're working on a contingency plan, which I would be doing too for that."
The projection also suggests that the 120 housing units at Grant Road will be sold by fiscal year 2019.
"If they sell the Grant Road parcel off, as far as residents are concerned, there's nothing left to be done," Blair said.
Blair said it would not be unreasonable for the towns to believe that MassDevelopment board members could vote to stop operation at Devens at some point in the future.
If that happens, he asked, doesn't that mean the towns need to have a contingency plan to figure out what to do?
"If indeed most of their development activity will be completed, then the question is, is it the intent of the parties -- either then, back in 1994, or now -- for them to retain some sort of permanent ongoing governance presence?" he said. "Or is it time for somebody else of some other model to be considered?"
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