Menino Sees Start of Last 100 Days
'Next Boston' Launched in Order to Smooth City Transition
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 00:10
After two decades of running the city of Boston, Mayor Thomas M. Menino has reached his last 100 days in office. To smooth this transition and foster a positive environment for the incoming mayor, on Saturday, the Menino administration created a blog that catalogues the internal processes of Boston’s government. This blog, called NextBoston, is intended to inspire understanding, inclusion, and general awareness among Boston residents for the coming mayoral race and for the transition to new leadership for the city.
The blog kicked off last week by launching a series of countdown posts that displayed pictures of the days ticking down to the new mayor’s term. One of the posts included a video by the Menino administration that detailed what the new mayor can expect when he assumes office. According to this fun, welcome video, the new mayor will absorb the tasks of “examining the budget, plowing the roads, preparing for natural disasters, helping put the city on a world stage, hugging a kid in a duck costume, breaking ground on housing and business developments, and holding up to three press conferences in a single day.”
The NextBoston blog will be updated daily with information on various city departments and neighborhoods. The goal of the blog is to provide insight into policies, procedures, and fun facts. Videos, graphs, lists and other dynamically presented information will be included about the city and its work. Menino and his administration hope this will provide a way for everyone to better understand how their government works, and to assist in providing a seamless transition for the new leadership.
“We’ve taken a look at how other cities, other states, and even presidential administrations, have handed things off to their successors and decided we’d like to do things a bit differently than just a bound book listing departments and their functions,” the blog said.
“My team is working hard to try and make this transition as smooth as possible,” Menino said. “This site is part of that work. Our hope is that our city—the best city in the world—doesn’t miss a step. As we begin our last 100 days, we hope the contents of this site will aid the next team in a successful first 100 days.”
Recent posts on the blog have included information on the Waste Reduction Division of the City’s Public Works Department and its new five-year contracts with the residential trash and recycling contractors. The blog has also detailed the use of the “Mayor’s Hotline,” a call service that links constituents to live phone operators at City Hall who are available to answer questions and take comments 24 hours a day. The latest post examined municipal finance and provided readers with a colorful flow chart of Boston’s finance calendar. All of these posts act to inform Boston residents of important municipal challenges so that they can understand where the city is headed in the next mayoral term.
“We don’t believe that simply handing the next mayor of Boston a ‘transition manual’ on Jan. 6 will achieve that mission. And we don’t believe it will fully engage the people we serve,” Menino’s team wrote on the blog. “Over the next 100 days, we’ll work hard to provide daily content made up of the insight and information that will help the next mayor of Boston and his staff transition more seamlessly into a new administration on Jan. 6. This work is important to us because we love the city of Boston and we want it to thrive. We take pride in setting national standards, and we’d like to set another precedent with this transition.”
The Menino administration is striving to present this information in a fashion that is engaging and straightforward, but also entertaining and humorous. Blog posts will range from serious policy briefs and operations plans to the daily quirks of life on the fifth floor of City Hall.
“It once seemed like Tom Menino would be mayor for life,” Boston Magazine wrote last week. After the surprising announcement earlier this year that Menino would step down, many people have taken time to look back on his achievements and legacy. His time in office has been characterized by strong support for GLBTQ rights and increasing financial stability.
In addition, Menino has always been an avid supporter of technological advancement. Therefore, the NextBoston blog seems like a natural move for his administration. The Menino administration hopes that with the NextBoston blog, the new mayor will smoothly join a Boston community with increased awareness and support for municipal improvement. The administration is welcoming comments and feedback from Boston residents to make the blog as positive and helpful as possible, stating, “Here’s to a strong finish, and a stronger start.”