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Mass. lawmakers to scrutinize Fidelity job cuts

March 16, 2011

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BOSTON—Gov. Deval Patrick said Wednesday he was "disappointed and frustrated" to learn that Fidelity Investments planned to take more than 1,000 jobs out of Massachusetts, adding that the mutual funds giant gave his administration little advance notice of the move.

Patrick, who is on an overseas trade mission in London, issued the statement one day after Fidelity announced it would be shutting down its Marlborough facility over the next two years.

"Massachusetts has been good to Fidelity just as Fidelity has been good to Massachusetts," Patrick said. "Their leadership was in my office recently and is in frequent touch with (Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki), and yet they gave us little notice of this decision and no opportunity to compete for these jobs."

Anne Crowley, a spokeswoman for Fidelity, said the company had made the state aware of its plans.

"We made the decision on where to locate these workers based on our business and real estate needs," Crowley said, adding that the company did not seek any offers before announcing plans to move most of the jobs to Smithfield, R.I., and Merrimack, N.H., as it seeks to consolidate its New England operations.

Also Wednesday, state Senate leaders were sharply critical of Fidelity as they announced that the Committee on Post Audit and Oversight would hold a special hearing on March 29 to examine interactions between the company and the state.

Sen. Mark Montigny, who chairs the committee, said Fidelity benefits from state subsidies.

"This is just another example of a private company fleecing the Commonwealth at the taxpayer's expense," said Mark Montigny, a New Bedford Democrat.

"If corporations continue to ask and receive public benefits then they have a responsibility to act in good faith," he said in a statement.

Senate President Therese Murray called Fidelity's announcement unexpected and surprising, and said the company would be called before the committee to explain its decision.

"It is very disappointing to be blindsided by a homegrown company that has benefited greatly from its long relationship with the Commonwealth," Murray said.

Murray added that she supported a decision by state Treasurer Steven Grossman to put out for bid a contract that Fidelity has to manage some of the state's money.

Crowley noted that the company still maintains its headquarters in Boston and currently employs about 8,400 people in Massachusetts.

"We have met and exceeded our commitments to the state and will continue to do so in the future," she said.