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Still 'Many Unanswered Questions' On Boston Olympics Bid, Gov. Baker Says

The Boston 2024 logo is displayed on a screen before a January news conference about the bid. (Charles Krupa/AP)MoreCloseclosemore
The Boston 2024 logo is displayed on a screen before a January news conference about the bid. (Charles Krupa/AP)

Gov. Charlie Baker still has questions about a push for Boston to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, as the nonprofit behind the bid continues to bring onboard former Patrick administration officials.

Asked about former Patrick staffers working on the bid, including former Gov. Deval Patrick himself, Baker said, "I said before that for me it's less about the people, and a lot more about the product. There's a ton of work to be done here and I think that's what people should focus on."

Former Patrick administration officials working for the private organization pushing for the games include former Patrick chief of staff Doug Rubin and Richard Davey, the former transportation secretary, who is now CEO of the effort known as Boston 2024. Nikko Mendoza, Patrick's former director of operations, is Boston 2024's vice president of engagement and external affairs.

Boston 2024's bid committee includes former interim U.S. Sen. Mo Cowan, who worked in the Patrick administration, and Patrick's former homeland security official Juliette Kayyem.

Opponents of the effort say an Olympic bid would divert attention and funds away from other priorities, such as education and housing.

The Baker administration learned of the former governor's new venture through recent news accounts.

"Governor Patrick will not be a full-time salaried employee but will be compensated based on the amount of his travel and efforts on behalf of 2024 — the extent of which has not been determined at this time," said Boston 2024 Vice President Erin Murphy in a statement to the News Service.

Asked whether details about Patrick and his pay should be released, Baker said, "I'm a big believer in transparency, I was a big supporter of having the 2024 people do the public hearings that they've started to do. They're a 501(c)3, they're under the obligations associated with that to be pretty transparent about their budgets and their operations and all the rest, and I would expect that they would do the appropriate filings."

Baker, talking to reporters outside his office on Monday, reiterated that his "issue is the product."

"I mean, time's a-wasting," Baker added. "And there's still many, many unanswered questions associated with this, and I think the most important thing for 2024 at this point is to move forward with actually starting to build out the plan."

Among those questions, according to Baker: "Which colleges and universities are going to be involved? Which sites are going to be used? Which sports are going to be where? How is the thing going to be laid out logistically? What's going to be the issue with respect to Widett Circle? I mean, there are some very big fundamentals here and I really think the focus ought to be on that."

Widett Circle is the proposed location of the Olympic Stadium.

The chairman of Boston 2024, construction magnate John Fish, has said that 70 to 75 percent of Olympic facilities will be located on university campuses.

The International Olympic Committee will decide on a 2024 host city in 2017.

The U.S. Olympic Committee Board plans to meet Friday at Covington & Burling in Washington D.C. and committee officials are scheduled to host a media teleconference following that meeting. Likely speakers include USOC CEO Scott Blackmun and USOC Chairman Larry Probst.

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