MassDevelopment CEO Dan Rivera, then mayor of Lawrence, testifies before state lawmakers in January 2020. State House News Service photo / File

The state’s economic development finance agency board has extended the contract of its top official 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 leaders to hold the position, Baker first nominated them before the board made the appointment.

When asked if Governor-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.”

During an event last week intended to promote his own legacy on housing issues, Baker took time to laud Rivera’s leadership at MassDevelopment.

“Not many other people would have understood what [Gateway Cities] were trying to do” in attracting development, he said.

The vote to extend Rivera’s contract did not include any salary change, a MassDevelopment spokesperson said. State records show that the agency CEO 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 reelection 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.

MassDevelopment Adds Three Years to CEO Rivera’s Contract

by State House News Service time to read: 2 min