Mayor Walsh Overhauls Boston Licensing Board

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Wednesday announced that he had installed new Licensing Board members in an overhaul of the body that regulates alcohol, food, and hotels within city limits.

The new members are Hyde Park attorney Christine Pulgini, Lisa Maki, who works in the city of Boston's law department and lives in South Boston, and Keeana Serene Saxon, deputy general counsel at the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development and a Roxbury resident.

Pulgini, who is currently a partner at the Law Offices of Joseph Pulgini, P.C., was tapped as chair. The chair receives a salary of $100,000 and the other two positions carry an $85,000 salary.

The new board members started their six-year terms on Dec. 1.

Walsh gained control of the board — previously appointed by the governor — after legislators passed a law earlier this year. The law, which was included in economic development bond legislation to change a 1906 move that took power away from the mayor, also handed the city additional liquor licenses.

"The changes we've made to the City's Licensing Board and our approach to licensing across the City presents a fresh opportunity to support economic development across our neighborhoods," Walsh said in a statement. "I'm grateful that Christine, Lisa and Keeana have agreed to serve the residents of Boston in this capacity, and I look forward to seeing their work begin."

The three new members will replace Suzanne Iannella, Nicole Murati Ferrer and Milton Wright, whose terms were not due to expire for years. Iannella's term was slated to be up in 2020, while Ferrer's was set for 2018 and Wright's was scheduled to expire in 2016, according to the city's website.

"Suzanne Iannella and Milton Wright are no longer employed by the City of Boston. We do not disclose the reasons for separation from employment," Walsh spokesman Melina Schuler said in an email. "Nicole Murati Ferrer remains employed by the City and will transition to a different role."

Ferrer will transition to the role while maintaining a position within the city's legal department, according to Walsh's press office.

The board's purview also includes dorms, bowling alleys, billiards and fortune teller licenses. Serving on the board is considered a full-time position.

City Councilor At-Large Ayanna Pressley, who has pressed for liquor license reform and increasing the number of licenses in communities of color, thanked the former board members for their "dedicated service."

"Return of control of the licensing board to the City of Boston and increasing the number of licenses was just the beginning," she said in a statement. "The real work continues - to increase transparency in operations of the Licensing Board and develop a plan for how new licenses will be distributed. I look forward to working with Mayor Walsh and the members of the Board on a number of transparency-related matters, including bringing the operations of the board online, assessing licensing fees, improving community and resident feedback and information-sharing, and implementing clear and open processes for distribution of licenses over the next three years."


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