A new report shines an unflattering light on the Boston Redevelopment Authority — the powerful agency that oversees planning and development in the city.
The audit outlines a long list of challenges besetting the BRA, including a poor sense of mission and vision, too little transparency, antiquated budgeting procedures, low morale and a cumbersome design review process that frustrates both developers and the neighborhoods.
Mayor Marty Walsh has pushed for reform of the authority and, last year, he appointed Brian Golden to lead the agency.
- "Objectives of the operational review: Assess the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s (BRA) Planning Department and the BRA’s current operations to identify opportunities for improvement and outline a potential set of next steps for the BRA to address these opportunities."
- "The report, by McKinsey & Co., paints the powerful Boston Redevelopment Authority as short of critical staff, beset by poor morale, and unable to manage its own property. The process to review building designs can be maddeningly slow at times, driving up costs for developers, it says. BRA director Brian Golden acknowledged the audit’s tough tone — 'This isn’t a valentine to the agency or to its leadership' — and said there is much that needs to improve."
- There are few engines in the city of Boston as powerful as the Redevelopment Authority. If that name sounds like something out of the Eisenhower Era, that’s because it is. The city has a Byzantine process for planning and authorizing major development projects — one that many other cities long-ago abandoned.
This segment aired on July 16, 2015.