Boston is hiring Sullivan & Worcester LLP "to ensure that best practices, including strong internal protocols and policies, are in place to best serve applicants in a way that is transparent and accountable to the public," the mayor's office announced today.
The mayor's office released a press release on the hiring that extensively quotes Mayor Marty Walsh on the need for transparency and accountability in zoning matters but never once mentions the reason why now might be a good time for such a review: Last week's announcement that a mid-level BPDA executive had agreed to plead guilty - and to accept a prison sentence of between roughly four and five years - to accepting bribes from a developer to ensure a small South Boston project got an extension the developer needed to sell the whole thing.
The release quotes the mayor:
Boston is a city that is booming with economic development, from new companies moving to our city and the creation of housing being at an all-time high-record. The pace of our growth is unparalleled to any other time in our city's history, which is a tremendous economic boon for our city, but also brings its own set of challenges. Through this review, I want to make sure that our agencies and staff are best equipped with the knowledge, tools and training they need to do their jobs effectively and to the standard of which they are held. ...
Since taking office, my Administration has worked to level the playing field in the development process in Boston, emphasizing transparency and ensuring broader access and input from the community. I recognize that there is always more work to be done to make the business of city government more accessible and transparent to everyone. I am hopeful that we will learn from the findings of this review how else we can better serve our constituencies and implement best practices used in the field.