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Walsh changes Olympic agreement

A provision of the city's agreement with the USOC had been criticized for impinging free speech.

Marty Walsh

Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

Mayor Marty Walsh has removed language that appeared to discourage city employees from speaking out against the city’s Olympic bid from an agreement with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

The agreement had come under fire for that provision; groups like the ACLU said it was an attempt to curb free speech.

“No, they can’t do that,” said Sarah Wunsch, deputy director for the ACLU Foundation of Massachusetts last month. “I think the mayor has backed off by saying it was standard language, well standard language matters. They should have known it matters.”

The so-called joinder agreement between Walsh and the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) which was made public Wednesday included language that prohibited city employees from making statements that “reflected unfavorably” on the Olympics.

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Walsh, meanwhile, referred to the provision as “boilerplate language,” something his office repeated in a statement today.

"This revised agreement is the result of positive negotiations with the United States Olympic Committee to reach a consensus that accurately represents how Boston is moving forward with our Olympic bid," Walsh said in a statement. "I want to thank those who have already offered their thoughts on Boston's bid and I continue to encourage all residents, including city employees, to share their opinions over the coming months. My top priority is to ensure an open and transparent process, and it is important that any proposal is shaped by the input and ideas of people from every neighborhood in order to offer the greatest benefit to our city."

 
 
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