Rachael Rollins snagged $175K severance from Massport job in 2015

Rachael Rollins, the progressive Suffolk DA freshly nominated by President Biden to serve as the next U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, snagged a $175,000 severance and then some when she separated from Massport in 2015, state records show.

Rollins’s separation terms included payouts for $154,500 in “salary continuation payments” over a 39-week period, $18,334 in unused, accrued vacation time and $2,000 in health benefits, according to a severance agreement provided to the Herald via a public records request. The total comes to $174,500.

Rollins, who would be elected to serve as Suffolk DA in 2018, signed the agreement on June 19, 2015. Her last day at Massport was July 31, 2015, according to agency documents.

Commonwealth Magazine first reported news of the DA’s severance on Monday. She was also reportedly provided $45,000 to attend a leadership development program at Harvard Business School.

The quasi-state agency known for doling out hefty salaries to its executives has come under fire in the past for plush payouts and severances paid out to former staffers.

Massport top brass continued to take home big-time salaries amid the pandemic even as the agency slashed budgets and lined up layoffs as profits plunged, the Herald reported last year.

In a statement to the Herald explaining the separation agreement, Massport said Rollins “indicated a willingness to serve at Massport for a year or two” upon her recruitment to the agency in 2013. She was hired as an at-will employee.

Rollins had previously served as general counsel at two other state agencies, the MBTA and MassDOT, the statement pointed out.

Rollins led on “high profile” legal matters during her tenure requiring coordination with multiple state and federal organizations, according to the statement.

“In the summer of 2015, Rachael indicated her interest in resigning over the next few months to pursue broader career goals,” the statement said.

Rollins was retained “as an advisor to the new leadership of the General Counsel’s office” for a nine-month period and was “agreed to by both parties,” according to the statement. The agreement is not mentioned in Rollins’s severance agreement provided to the Herald via a public records request.

Rollins waived all her rights to sue Massport per the agreement, including for more money, race discrimination, and age discrimination, according to the eight-page severance agreement.

A spokesman for the district attorney did not respond to the Herald’s requests for comment on Monday.

Rollins’s nomination to serve as U.S. attorney still requires approval by the U.S. Senate. Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, will be tasked with naming an interim Suffolk DA to serve out the remainder of Rollins’s term should she be approved for the federal post.

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