- 1 Elected officials
- 2 Administrative officials
- 3 Public pensions
- 4 Budget
- 5 Lobbying
- 6 Transparency and public records
- 7 Emergency personnel
- 8 Website evaluation
- 9 See also
- 10 External links
- 11 References
Boston is governed by a strong mayor-council system in which the city council acts as the legislative body under a more independent, administrative mayor.
The Boston City Council recognizes its duties to include: "the filing of legislation, the enactment of orders, ordinances, and resolutions,...analyzing appropriations and loan orders."
The city of Boston elects four at large councilors to represent the entire city; in addition nine district city councilors represent specific portions of the city.
Currently serving on the city council are the following
- Stephen J. Murphy -- President, at large
- Felix G. Arroyo -- At large
- John R. Connolly -- At large
- Ayanna Pressley -- At large
- Salvatore LaMattina -- District 1
- Bill Linehan -- District 2
- Maureen E Feeney -- District 3
- Charles C. Yancey -- District 4
- Robert Consalvo -- District 5
- Matt O'Malley -- District 6
- Tito Jackson -- District 7
- Michael P. Ross -- District 8
- Mark Ciommo -- District 9
The City Council votes to raise the mayor's salary as well as its own salary every four years.
|Last name||First name||Job title||District||2010 Annual Salary|
|Pressley||Ayanna S.||City Councilor||At Large||$84,135|
|Arroyo||Felix G.||City Councilor||At Large||$84,135|
|Connolly||John R||City Councilor||At Large||$87,500|
|Murphy||Stephen J||City Councilor||President, At Large||$87,500|
|Lamattina||Salvatore J.||City Councilor||District 1||$87,500|
|Linehan||William P||City Councilor||District 2||$87,500|
|Feeney||Maureen E||City Councilor||District 3||$87,500|
|Yancey||Charles C||City Councilor||District 4||$87,500|
|Consalvo||Robert J.||City Councilor||District 5||$87,500|
|O\'Malley||Matthew J.||City Councilor||District 6||$4,712|
|Ross||Michael P.||City Councilor||District 8||$87,500|
|Ciommo||Mark||City Councilor||District 9||$87,500|
- The city council is elected every two years, on odd-numbered years.
Bribery scandal with council member Turner
Ronald Wilburn recently testified that he bribed city councilmen Chuck Turner in order to get a liqueur license. In a closing argument, Turner's lawyer argued that Turner should be not guilty because he only took portions of the bribe. However, the jury found Turner guilty. Turner is refusing to step down from his city council position, but the City Council President is organizing a meeting to expel him. On December 1, 2010, Turner was expelled from the Boston City Council by an 11-1 vote making him the first council member to ever be expelled in the history of the modern Boston City Council.
On January 25, 2011, Turner was sentenced to three years in prison.
The mayor of Boston is elected by a plurality of voters every four years. In the strong-mayor council system, the mayor has greater independence and extensive administrative powers. The current mayor of Boston is Thomas M, Menino. He is the longest-serving mayor in Boston's history, having been elected to his fifth term in November 2009.
The Mayor of Boston is paid $172, 255 as of 2011.. The mayor's salary is determined by the Boston City Council, who vote every four years on the mayor's salary as well as their own.. He was elected in 1993 and served on the city council from 1984 to 1993.
The following are the top ten public income earners for the City of Boston, for FY 2010.
|Last Name||First Name||Job Title||Department||Detail||Injured||Overtime||Other||Quinn||Retro||Annual Salary||Gross Earnings|
|Menino||Thomas M.||Mayor||Mayor\'s Office||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0||$0||$172,255||$172,255|
|Ryan||Amy E||President||Boston Public Library||$0||$0||$0||$41,307||$0||$0||$172,255||$213,562|
|Davis||Edward F||Commissioner (Bpd)||Boston Police Department||$0||$0||$0||$3,252||$0||$0||$171,468||$174,720|
|Fraser Jr.||Roderick J||Commissioner (BFD)||Boston Fire Department||$0||$0||$0||$3,252||$0||$0||$171,468||$174,720|
|McDonough||John P||Chief Financial Officer||Chief Financial Officer||$0||$0||$0||$3,138||$0||$0||$169,547||$172,686|
|Goar||Michael||Deputy Superintendent||Chief Operating Officer||$0||$0||$0||$3,212||$0||$0||$169,351||$172,562|
|Keating||Ronald Walter||Chief of Boston Fire Dept.||Boston Fire Department||$0||$3,168||$0||$1,998||$0||$22,793||$163,346||$191,304|
|O\'Halloran||Andrew||Chief of Field Services||Boston Fire Department||$0||$1,853||$0||$14,702||$0||$48,611||$160,878||$226,045|
|Fontana||Gerard T.||Dep Fire Chief Administration||Boston Fire Department||$0||$168||$13,341||$9,118||$0||$54,854||$156,867||$234,348|
The full list of public employee salaries is available at the Boston Herald website
- See also: Massachusetts public pensions
According to a 2010 report published at Northwestern University, Boston is one of the ten municipalities with the largest amount of unfunded pension liabilities. Nationwide there is $574 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for local pension plans, and this is in addition to the $3 trillion in debt facing state-sponsored pension plans. The report states that the pension plans could be out of money as early at 2025.
(number of plans)
|Liabilities, Stated Basis, June ’09 ($B)||Liabilities (ABO), Treasury Rate||Net Pension Assets ($B)||Unfunded Liability ($B)||Unfunded Liability / Revenue||Unfunded Liability per Household ($)|
|Expenditures (in millions)||FY08||FY09||FY10||FY11|
|Reserve for Collective Bargaining||11.83||16.86||--||8.55|
|Suffolk County Sherrif Dept||4.52||4.34||4.45||148.68|
|Total Fixed Costs||452.74||474.72||393.35||403.26|
Boston has received approximately $2,241,896,680.05 in stimulus spending to fund 1,118 projects..
|Grant||State Fiscal Stabilization Fund - Education Stabilization Fund||$544,913,152||3,800|
|Grant||State Fiscal Stabilization Fund - Government Services||$180,954,993||2,178|
|Grant||Clean Water State Revolving Fund||$133,057,300||0|
|Grant||Weatherization Assistance Program||$122,077,457||8|
|Grant||Purchase hybrid buses, rehabilitate bus facilities, double track a portion of the Fitchburg commuter rail line, and reconstruct ramps and areaways associated with enhanced Silver Line rapid bus transit service.||$85,946,188||0|
|Grant||DESIGN-BUILD INTERCHANGE CONSTRUCTION OF ROUTE 24.||$70,172,997||1|
|Grant||Tax Credit Assistance Program||$59,605,630||0|
|Grant||WIA Recovery Act Title 1 Services for Adult, Dislocated and Youth Workers||$56,135,152||1,101|
|Grant||State Energy Program - ARRA||$54,911,000||0|
|Grant||Drinking Water State Revolving Fund||$52,216,000||0|
- See also: Massachusetts government sector lobbying
Boston has reported $1,208,581 spent lobbying since 2000 (see table).
|Year||Amount spent on lobbying|
Transparency and public records
Massachusetts ranked 38th out of 50 states in public records availability, and Boston contributes to that ranking. Walter V. Robinson, a professor at Northwestern University, cites prohibitive records access costs as being a barrier to records in Boston. When attempting to access records available in hard copy only, the city wanted to charge him and his students $2,000 for access to them..
Boston Police Department surveillance records
The Boston Police Department has changed policies on surveillance operations in the city. Previously, the BPD had been able to record rallies, marches, demonstrations, and protests, and did so openly. Now organizations say that the information can be "centrally monitored, indexed, and stored electronically, and shared through state and national surveillance networks.". Documentation on how such documentation is being used is being kept from the public, however. The ACLU among other organizations are suing for the right to view those procedures under the Massachusetts Public Records Law.
In 2009, Michael Kineavy, chief policy adviser to Mayor Menino, was found to have been routinely deleting emails from his computer, in a violation of Massachusetts Public Records law. The mayor first dismissed it as "silly," but the secretary of state Bill Galvin, ordered Kineavy's computer to be seized and the emails attempted to be recovered.. Mayor Memino complied and hired StoneTurn Group -- a computer forensics firm -- to recover the deleted emails. The group was then found to have connections to the city.
Two years earlier in 2007 Superior Court Judge Ralph D. Grants ruled that the city of Boston had been unlawfully deleting emails. In a suit filed by the David Project, the Boston Redevelopment Authority was found to have "failed to comply with its obligation to retain e-mails in accordance with [state law]. Prior to 2007, the BRA frequently asked its staff to delete e-mails so that its e-mail storage load would not exceed what was desirable for the efficient use of its e-mail servers."
The City of Boston employs its on emergency personnel: The Boston Police department and the Boston Fire Department.
The Boston Fire Department is generally successful in the Boston area. In 2009, the city suffered no fatalities as a result of fires. Additionally, about 50% of the calls that the BFD serves are medical calls, rather than fire calls.
|Transparency grading process|
- Agendas and minutes are available for City Council Meetings.
- The budget is posted for fiscal years 2006 to 2011, with a proposed budget for 2012.
- Building permit forms are available on the website, and zoning information
- The mayor and city council officials contact information are available via a quick search on the contact page.
- Provides information on City of Boston property taxes. More tax information is detailed in that year's budget.
- The site features a simple, effective search bar that made finding most information easy and quick.
- Contract bigs and vendor letters are posted.
- The most recent audit and past audits are disclosed online.
- Some information on public employee salaries is disclosed, and so are the collective bargaining agreements.
- Campaign finance reports are disclosed by the city council.
- Information is not available for who to contact and how to obtain public records.
- Lobbying information and ethics is not noted, nor is membership to a government sector lobbying association.
- There is no checkbook register available.
- Information on approved vendor contracts over $10,000 is not posted online.
- "Population and Housing Occupancy Status: 2010 – State – County Subdivision, 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". U.S. Census Bureau. http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=DEC_10_PL_GCTPL2.ST16&prodType=table. Retrieved on March 23, 2011.
- City Council -- City of Boston
- Estes, Andrea. "Council OK's Big Raises for Itself, Mayor." 'The Boston Globe,' May 4, 2006. Accessed August 31, 2011, via Google Archives
- The Boston Herald, Boston City Payroll, February 2011
- The Boston Globe, Informant testifies he bribed Turner, Oct. 22, 2010
- Boston Herald, Chuck Turner lawyer’s bizarre admission, Oct. 29, 2010
- Boston Globe, Turner found guilty of accepting cash bribe, Oct. 30, 2010
- "Amid outcry, council expels Turner", The Boston Globe (December 2, 2010).
- Laurel J. Sweet. "Chuck Turner sentenced to 3 years in jail". Boston Herald. http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1311965&srvc=rss.
- Kellog Business School at Northwestern University, The Crisis in Local Government Pensions in the United States, Oct. 12, 2010
- Boston Budget Summary
- Open Secrets
- 'Metro West Daily News,' State lags in online access to public records, 16 March 2009 Accessed August 31, 2011.
- The Boston Herald ACLU, activist groups sue Boston Police over surveillance documents. August 18, 2011.Accessed August 31, 2011
- Leihgh, Scott. "A murky mess at City Hall" 'The Boston Globe.' 18 September 2009 Accessed August 31, 2011
- Slack, Donovoan and Levenson, Michael. 'The Boston Globe,' 17 Septermber 2009. Accessed August 31, 2011.
- Levenson, Michael and Slack, Donovan. 'The Boston Globe.' Judge warned city on e-mails in 2008, 16 September 2009. Accessed August 31, 2011
- [http://www.bpdnews.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/Aug-29-2011.pdf Part One Crime Reported by the Boston Police Department by Offense and by District/Area (PDF)
- BDP Statistics.
- 'The Boston Globe,' "Boston escapes 2009 with no fire deaths." 13 January 2010, Accessed September 1, 2011.
- 'The Boston Globe,' "Fire Dept. defends using trucks for medical calls," 23 January 2009. Accessed September 1, 2011
- City of Boston Budget
- Building Permits
- zoning information
- City of Boston contact page
- City of Boston taxes
- City of Boston FY 2011 Budget
- Contract bids
- Collective Bargaining Agreements
- Campaign Finance