Mayor-elect Marty Walsh talks moving City Hall, police contract, transition
Less than 24 hours after his win to become the next mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh faced questions on a variety of issues including the Boston police union contract, potentially moving City Hall and diversifying his appointed leaders.
Walsh, the 46-year-old state representative and former labor union leader from Dorchester, spoke to reporters during a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Boston Common. He said he would announce more information about who would be running his transition team and inauguration committee later this week.
Walsh will have to transition into a role occupied by a veteran in Mayor Thomas Menino who is the city’s longest-serving mayor having been elected to five terms.
If it hadn’t hit him yet, the reality that Walsh will be the chief executive of the Hub became clear when he was asked about issues including his campaign comments on moving City Hall.
While he said the idea of selling off City Hall and the plaza is not his top priority, he said it’s something he plans to examine.
“We’re going to come up with a process to see if that land, 4.5 acres in the heart of Boston, if there’s interest in that land,” he said. “It’s potential revenue for the city of Boston and we have some potential shortfalls here … we’re going to have to make up for.”
Walsh also said that he plans to let the city council vote how it will on a Boston police union contract that an arbiter set as a 25.4 percent pay increase over the next six years. The patrolmen’s union has been working without a contract for the last four years.
While he said he would let the city council decide to approve or reject the arbiter’s decision, he reiterated that he felt it was too much for the city to afford.
Recounting his election night win, Walsh said that while he got to talk to President Barack Obama, he did miss another important call.
“I got a call from Vice President Biden that I missed,” Walsh said. “He’s on my voicemail. He just congratulated me as well saying it’s great to see a kid from the neighborhood be elected mayor of the city of Boston.”
Earlier Wednesday Walsh met with Mayor Thomas Menino to discuss the transition process that will take place over the next two months. Walsh also said Menino gave him some advice.
“He basically said a lot of people are going to be coming at you, you’re going to have a lot of friends now. He said be careful, move forward and he said always keep the residents and the city of Boston number one,” Walsh said.
Walsh will succeed Menino on January 6 after he defeated City Councilor John Connolly in Tuesday’s election by earning 52 percent of the vote.
Walsh is currently the state representative from Dorchester and said he will resign his seat just after the new year.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.