Throughout her career, Suzanne Bump has identified problems and done whatever it takes to solve them.
First as a legislative aide, then as Braintree’s elected state representative, Suzanne saw problems affecting her community and her constituents, and she solved them. When she was House chairman of the Commerce and Labor Committee, she addressed a crisis that was crippling economic growth – skyrocketing worker’s compensation insurance costs. As principal author of a sweeping 1991 law, she took on the entrenched interests that were benefitting from the status quo. The result was reform that, to this day, brings fairness, efficiency and accountability to the system. It has saved businesses millions of dollars while delivering faster judgments to injured workers.
After four terms in office, Suzanne went to work for businesses large and small, gaining first-hand knowledge of private-sector best practices and business start-up experience. She worked for a trade association and a financial services industry company, and sat on boards of directors, including the South Shore Chamber of Commerce and St. Francis House. She helped her son start a law practice, where she focused on services to small businesses and non-profits, and she helped to found a non-profit to run an alcohol and drug recovery home for 21 women located in Brockton. She also served on the U.S. Selective Service System’s local board for many years.
In early 2007, Suzanne was appointed to run the state’s Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD), where she confronted a legacy of 16 years of management neglect and disinvestment. Her leadership was characterized by a deep commitment to the goals of the six agencies she administered, relentless scrutiny and improvement of the procedures used by the agencies, and a determination to “get it right” for her agencies’ customers and the taxpayers.
Among her accomplishments: securing $42 million in funding in 2007 to upgrade ancient and inadequate computer and telephone systems to administer the unemployment insurance system; ending years of discord between local workforce investment boards and her agency, vastly improving the state’s education and training delivery system and leading to the creation of 11,000 summer jobs for teenagers in 2009; streamlining the state’s labor relations agencies, reducing first-stage dispute resolution timeframes from 2 to 3 years to 2 to 3 months; and, launching an aggressive initiative to surface the underground economy.
The question, “where are you from?” elicits from Suzanne an answer demonstrating roots in both eastern and western Massachusetts. She grew up in the South Shore town of Whitman, where her father was a funeral director and her mother, a homemaker. She worked her way through Boston College as a commuting student and through Suffolk University Law School, and lived for more than 20 years in Braintree with her husband, Paul McDevitt of Dorchester, whom she married in 1980. They now reside in the village of Housatonic, within the Berkshires town of Great Barrington, although their jobs cause them to spend the workweek in South Boston.
Suzanne was recently honored by the following organizations:
- The Labor Guild of the Archdiocese of Boston, where she was awarded the “Cushing-Gavin Award” for excellence in labor-management relations, exemplifying moral integrity, professional competence and community concern
- The Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, which presented her with an “Honorary Bachelor of Humane Letters”
- The Arnold M. Dubin Labor Education Center at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, where she received the “Richard M. Fontera Award”
- The Recovery Homes Collaborative, where she received accolades for “Bringing together legislators and treatment programs for the benefit of those recovering from substance abuse”
- The Merrimac Valley Chamber of Commerce, which recognized her for “Efforts toward Workforce Development in Merrimac Valley”
- The Merrimac Valley Workforce Investment Board, where she was honored for her “Tireless efforts in support of workforce development for the benefit of the job seekers and employees in Merrimac Valley”
- The Merrimac Valley Central Labor Council, which named her their “Public Official of the Year”
- The Job Training Alliance, where she was lauded for “Advancing Employment Opportunities for Boston Residents”
- The Massachusetts Workforce Board Association, which gave her their “Eagle Award”