Acting Mayor Kim Janey On Her First Month In Office, Delaying Reopening, And Police Reform

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Mayor Kim Janey speaks at the Medal of Honor Park in Boston on March 25, 2021. (Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Mayor Kim Janey speaks at the Medal of Honor Park in Boston on March 25, 2021. (Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

It's been a little over a month since Kim Janey made history as the first woman and first Black mayor of Boston.

And in that time, Janey's been faced with some major policy decisions. Janey inherited multiple scandals at the Boston Police Department — including an investigation into allegations of domestic violence against its new commissioner, Dennis White.

Janey told WBUR's Radio Boston she's now in possession of the final report, and will make a decision on White's leadership in the coming days. She also indicated she'd support releasing more information about police officers accused of sexual assault or domestic violence in the future — a break in policy from former mayor Marty Walsh's administration.

This all against the looming general election in November, where Janey will fight to keep her role against a crowded field of competitors.

Janey also discussed her decision to delay Boston's reopening plans, and whether she might consider mandating vaccines for city employees.

Highlights from Janey's appearance on Radio Boston's "Mondays With The Mayor" have been excerpted below, and edited for clarity.

Interview Highlights

On her first month as mayor:
"I really appreciate and I'm deeply grateful for just the outpouring of support and excitement. Certainly the historic nature of me being the first Black mayor and the first woman mayor is still very exciting for our city and for the residents here. But beyond that, I think that people are really pleased with the work that I've been able to do in just six weeks. And so that has been certainly encouraging. There is no shortage, of course, of various challenges and issues that need attention in the city. And so I'm grateful to have a great team here and building a team that's addressing these issues and making sure that the residents of Boston are well served."

On delaying Boston's reopening plans behind the state timeline:

"We are continuing to be informed by the data, putting the care of our residents first and foremost, making sure that now that we are just less than two weeks of having everyone over 16 eligible (for a vaccine), that we have more time to get vaccines into people's arms. We are going to be informed by the data. Fortunately, we are trending in the right direction ...

"And should the data suggest that we need to pull back and maybe get a little tighter? We will. If it suggests that we can loosen up and open things up even more widely, then that's what we will do."

On whether she'd mandate city employees get vaccinated:

"At this point, I really want to do everything possible to encourage people to take the vaccine, to get the information they need so that they can make an informed decision for themselves and their families, and then to make the vaccine accessible to them and then give them the time needed to take off to get the vaccine. And even if they have, you know, a symptom from the second shot, like some folks might get a slight fever afterwards, [they can] take a day to recuperate. I want to do everything possible to make sure that people can make informed decisions and that this isn't forced upon them."

On the status of the domestic violence investigation of Police Commissioner Dennis White:

"The final report from the independent investigator did arrive late last week. I have not had a chance to be fully briefed yet ... I will be taking time this week and perhaps into early next week into making sure that I am briefed so that I can make an informed decision. The last thing that I want to do is rush this decision. We are in this situation in large part because there was a rushed decision. So I want to make sure that I'm doing my due diligence, that I am briefed, that I know what's in this report and that I make an informed decision from there."

On whether she'll support the release of investigations into other officers accused of sexual assault or domestic violence:

"I have invested a million dollars into the creation of the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency because I believe that this is an important step in terms of building trust. I have already done in my first six weeks in office more to to release files, to be transparent, than anyone that I can think of in recent history. And I think certainly more files should come to light; it is what I have asked our new executive director who just started today, Stephanie Everett, to be looking into, starting with the Rose case ... I think transparency is where we need to be going with this. And at all costs, we do need to protect victims and survivors in these cases."

This article was originally published on May 03, 2021.

This segment aired on May 3, 2021.


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