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Mayor-Elect Walsh Announces Transition Team

BOSTON — Boston Mayor-elect Marty Walsh on Friday presented the people who are leading his transition team. He also gave further indication of the administration he’ll have.

Walsh is not the first elected leader to look to his former rivals to help him get started in his new administration. For his transition team, he has picked the three former mayoral rivals who endorsed him in the general election: former state Rep. Charlotte Golar Richie, former Boston School Committee member John Barros and City Councilor Felix Arroyo.

Additionally, he’s picked Katherine Craven, executive director of the University of Massachusetts Building Authority; Joyce Linehan, a public relations executive who was a top aide on Walsh’s campaign; and Samuel Tyler, president of the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, an independent group that monitors the city budget.

Walsh said of Tyler Friday: “Sam’s insight into city government is important to a transition, and particularly his ability to watch the budget and his fiscal ability to make sure and not be shy, to call people out.”

Walsh said he will add more people to lead his transition in the coming weeks.

Barros said Walsh has asked them to look at how other cities structure their governments. So, at first, this won’t be so much a search committee as a group that provides options to Walsh about how city government could work.

Walsh showed his sense of humor during Friday morning’s press conference. He was asked who would be able to tell him when he’s making a mistake.

“Lorrie, which she’s already done,” he said to laughter. Lorrie Higgins is Walsh’s life partner.

But then he turned to Tyler again.

“During the campaign, in some of these forums, Sam asked me very difficult questions, and we spoke very often after those forums,” Walsh said. “And he’s here because of somebody who can say, ‘Wait a second. This isn’t the right way to go.’ And I’m not surrounding myself on the transition team with yes men and yes women. I’m going to surround myself with people who want to do right by government and move government forward.”

Walsh promised to staff City Hall with the most-qualified people.

“I certainly am not going to load my administration up with people that held Marty Walsh signs, and Marty Walsh bumper stickers in the car,” he said.

Walsh, the former leader of the Boston Building Trades, then met Friday afternoon with Mayor Thomas Menino and business leaders.

“In the business community, we’ll probably hear about not enough transparency, some concerns they have there,” Walsh said. “You have a lot of businesspeople that are concerned about a transition. History has it, from a White to a Flynn administration, from what I understand, development in the city basically came to a stop for about a year. I don’t intend on stopping development and progress.”

Right now, $5 billion worth of construction is going on in Boston. Walsh wants to make sure development in the city doesn’t stop when he takes over as mayor.

Two of the biggest figures in real estate development in Boston are expressing confidence in the mayor-elect. Kevin Phelan, who raises money for Boston real estate development projects, calls concerns about Walsh’s debt to unions for his victory overblown.

“Marty understands economics, and without businesspeople doing deals, building buildings, growing the city, you’re not going to have jobs,” Phelan said.

Another big figure, John Fish, CEO of Suffolk Construction, says he’s looking for predictability.

“I think that having a strong mayor step into the fifth floor and giving the business community a sense of confidence that the policies are going to be predictable,” Fish said.

Fish said the meeting with Walsh Friday afternoon went “very well.”

This post was updated with the All Things Considered feature version.

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  • jonshore

    I would have hoped that Mayor Elect Walsh would have made Boston residency a requirement for participation on the transition team. Unless something has changed, Mr. Tyler does not live in the city, but in a toney suburb outside the city.
    I find this problematic, and feel that this has hindered Mr. Tyler’s insight when he pontificates and reports on issues in our city. The Boston Municipal Research Bureau, which Mr. Tyler heads, represents corporations, businesses and large
    non-profits institutions that pay to belong to his organization.

    I’m sure that Marty Walsh is aware that members of the BMRB need, and will campaign for, a low paid, no benefit, service sector workforce and they are looking to Boston’s urban communities to provide it. Mayor Elect Walsh would be wise to remember who is holding this business watchdog’s leash: it’s not the people who live in the City of Boston and not the people who elected him to lead. It is the self-aggrandizing philanthropic group the Boston Foundation (TBF), whose president and CEO Paul Grogan represents the big companies, corporations, real estate, seaport developers, and large “non-profit” institutions, that own 50% of the land and real estate in Boston.

    The Boston Foundation has an operating budget of about $11 million and a portfolio of $850 million in investment assets. Each year, the foundation takes in contributions of about $80 million. TBF has “merged, ”some say have taken over, The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI) which is a philanthropic “consulting group” whose goal is to “strategically” place clients charitable donations where they can benefit financially and where these “philanthropic venture capital donors” receive tax breaks, New Market Tax Credits, and an array of money making financial strategies that recycle money back into their foundations, but doesn’t necessarily contribute to lifting Boston residents out of poverty, or improving the quality of life to people who actually live and pay taxes in the city.

    In this respect it would be astute of Walsh to salt a few of his supporters around city hall and increase the transparency of business and non-profit dealing with the city. It is not about surrounding yourself with “people who want to do right by government and move government forward” it is about surrounding yourself with people who want to do right by people, and moving Boston’s government forward by serving and bettering the lives of people living in Boston.

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