Working For Mayor Menino
By Jack Kelly
(former Neighborhood Liaison for Boston Mayor Tom Menino)
As the news filters through Boston and the rest of the country, of the impending retirement of Mayor Tom Menino, a variety of thoughts and opinions’ flood my mind. Love him or hate him, the impact of my former boss is immense.
Politics, by its very nature will render passionate feelings towards the individual who wears The Crown.
In this case, Mayor Menino certainly had his detractors throughout the city. But a debate no one could effectively articulate is his historic impact on not only Boston, but the American political landscape. This is a man who Presidents’ of past and our current one, called upon to deliver actual results, most notably in neighboring New Hampshire.
And results he did deliver!
He was a force throughout all of New England in Business, development and impact. If Mayor Menino supported something, it became a virtual guarantee that, that something would come to fruition.
Again, love him or hate him, it is impressive.
Like many other’s past and present, I had the opportunity to spend 5 years working for him. I had a unique seat at history working for this man as his Charlestown liaison in the Office of Neighborhood Services.
This seat at history was always apparent within me.
I remember the first time I met with him about obtaining the neighborhood liaison position in his administration. I sat on a very uncomfortable leather chair looking at a painted portrait of what I perceived to be Harry Truman, hanging above his desk and nervously glancing out the big window in front of me overlooking Faneuil Hall.
I was 25 and on a well-known comeback from a serious substance abuse problem. At that time (and still) drugs were destroying lives in not only my community, but all of Boston. In spite of the lucrative real estate development and stable housing prices in Charlestown, drugs were still inflicting an enormous amount of moral and financial damage.
I was coming out of that hellish world and trying to help change it for the better. As I later became aware, the Mayor was told of my past troubles and on the account of many other’s who recommend me to him within the community, he rolled the dice and took a “shot” with me.
I can’t think of many politicians who would have appointed a kid with only 3 years clean and sober and a small arrest record to such a public position.
But he did.
I no longer work for the Mayor or City Hall, but will forever be grateful to him for that opportunity as it has personally and professionally taken me to places, which never could exist without the most powerful person in Boston rolling the dice and “taking a chance” on a reformed kid.
Cheers to you,