To watch a brief video on what some attendees hope for the new administration, click here.
Boston Mayor-Elect Martin J. Walsh’s ears were burning this morning as four of Boston’s leading media influencers looked into their crystal balls to foreshadow the key challenges he’ll face once he takes the oath of office in early January.
The SM& Presents post-election panel generated an overload of insights from David Bernstein, Contributing Editor, Boston Magazine; George Donnelly, Executive Editor, Boston Business Journal and Mass High Tech; Alison King, Political Reporter, New England Cable News: and, Adrian Walker, Columnist, Boston Globe.
Walsh will face “incredibly high expectations” as he becomes the city’s first new mayor in 20 years amid questions about how he will perform as “CEO of a $2.5 billion enterprise,” Donnelly said. But most panelists agreed the Dorchester state representative comes to the role with a large reservoir of goodwill from diverse constituencies.
“He is a hugely likeable guy… He may be the first candidate I’ve ever covered who didn’t have some group trashing him,” said King, who advised Walsh to be decisive and “put on your CEO hat and throw off your legislator hat.”
Walker noted that much of Walsh’s first term success will hinge on key personnel appointments to important open positions – police commissioner, school superintendent, Boston Redevelopment Authority director, and Public Works commissioner. Noting that Mayor Thomas M. Menino “started out as a pothole mayor,” Walker predicted that Walsh will not have the luxury of a long transition.
Bernstein described Walsh as “the most comfortable and familiar choice for a city that is notoriously resistant to change.” He said it will be interesting to see how the new mayor handles scrutiny he has not had previously and whether he can attract the kind of talent that may have been reluctant to join Menino’s centralized power structure.
Panelists and the audience chuckled at Donnelly’s description of Walsh as “perhaps the cooler of the two white Irish guys”- with the other being City Councillor John Connolly. He said Walsh will need to be “an aggressive manager of finances” and predicted that business leaders and the new mayor will find common ground over their mutual desire to spur job creation.
All four panelists were skeptical about Walsh’s ability to keep his campaign promise to create a Cabinet with 50% diversity that reflects the majority minority demographic of the city, but all four also predicted that Charlotte Golar Richie, John Barros and Felix Arroyo could all end up in a Walsh Administration.
The media experts also agreed that Walsh is likely to be a more effective and accessible communicator than Menino. “We have a mayor now who has never sent an email… so being more communicative than that won't be harder,” Walker quipped.
Marty Walsh may be the 1st candidate Alison King has covered who didn't have someone trashing him
Much of Walsh’s 1st term success will hinge on key personnel appointments to important open positions
Walsh is likely to be a more effective and accessible communicator than Menino