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Janey fires White as police commissioner, calls him a bully with no place in a modern police department

Public Safety Press Conference 6-7-21

Acting Mayor Kim Janey said this afternoon she's fired Dennis White as police commissioner effective immediately, and that she will now work towards a national search for a new commissioner.

Janey said the independent report on domestic-violence incidents in the 1990s were bad enough, and that he acknowledged during a private hearing last week to hitting and pushing family members. He only made things worse by a campaign in recent weeks to vilify his ex-wife, she said. "His actions in recent weeks have done even more to erode public trust in his judgment and ability to lead," she said.

And no, he can't play the Black card and complain about treatment of Black men in America, she continued. She will not "turn a blind eye" to reprehensible behavior like his, she said.

Janey said the way White kept showing up at BPD headquarters, intimidating people, coupled with his refusal to apologize for past actions and efforts to smear his ex-wife, means that she had no choice. His return to his job as police commissioner would send "a chilling message" to domestic-violence victims and only cement what she said was already a blue wall of silence at BPD.

Janey added that White not only lost job as commissioner, he lost his employment at BPD. She said that when White accepted then Mayor Walsh's appointment for what turned into just a two-day job, he gave up his civil-service protection, so he no longer has a badge.

Janey said that, for now, Gregory Long will remain acting commissioner. She snapped at a reporter who asked about Superintendent Nora Baston, saying she never said she would be appointing her to replace White.

She said she is hoping that the national search effort will mean a new permanent commissioner by year's end.

Janey added that the new Office of Police Accountability and Transparency, headed by local attorney Stephanie Everett, with subpoena powers, already has active investigations underway.


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Voting closed 74

The question is why?

Voting closed 14

How about we get an interim chief and let the next elected actual mayor make the pick? While there's a chance that means Essabi-George gets elected and appoints some Pax Centurion type that would still be a better process.

Voting closed 40

I think it makes sense to start the search now, these things seem to take a long time. As long as the next elected mayor makes the final pick and not the interim mayor, I'm fine with it.

Voting closed 34

Look, I seem to be the only person who comments at this website who thinks Janey could still be mayor come January, but even I think she lacks authority to make a "permanent" replacement for White.

That White is no longer with the BPD? I could not care less. Stinks that he is getting shitcanned for a 20 year old incident, but it is what it is.

Voting closed 17

“Stinks that he ruined his career when he abused his wife and family, but it is what it is.”

Voting closed 75

He abused his wife and family 20 years ago, and nothing was done either in court or at work, but here we are today. Let’s be clear, if he was still in his last civil service position, he’d be in the clear.

Voting closed 19

New Mayor will be sworn in on November 3. We are replacing an acting Mayor. This is according to a Mayoral candidate at an East Boston neighborhood meeting.

Voting closed 17

Janey is aware that she does not currently have authority to appoint a new permanent commissioner. She's boasting about starting the process to project an image that she's already "Mayor Janey" and "the 55th mayor of Boston", even though she's neither.

The City Charter is explicit: The person upon whom such duties shall devolve shall be called “acting mayor” and he shall possess the powers of mayor only in matters not admitting of delay, but shall have no power to make permanent appointments.

White could file another suit claiming Janey doesn't even have authority to fire him. Janey put her foot in her mouth by making statements about taking the department "in a new direction", and the fact that White has been working for the city without incident for 20 years (and working as Commissioner without incident for 1 day) means he can make a case that there is no urgency or need 'admitting of delay' to firing him. Or White might let it go, and let Janey have the win.

This situation parallels 1993 when Menino (as acting mayor) declared he was freezing water/sewer rates. Even though he legally couldn't, it helped him get elected in the fall, since that was a popular move.

Voting closed 27

" She snapped at a reporter who asked about Superintendent Nora Baston, saying she never said she would be appointing her to replace White."

No, that would've been your press secretary/advisors leaking that info to reporters on background.

Voting closed 25

It's not a leak if its being given on background...

Voting closed 22

I hope Janey gets to pick, just because everyone loves to point out that she’s ACTING Mayor as if that makes her the most unqualified person for the job. People want her to sit there and do nothing because she’s “temporary,” but when the annual summer shootings start, they want her to get off her ass. #votejaney :)

Voting closed 36

I call her "Acting Mayor" because that's technically what she is, just like Tom Menino was back in 1993. And there are actually certain legal ramifications to that, like maybe she can't actually appoint a permanent police commissioner.

But if she's going to have all those new City Hall signs printed up that say "Mayor Janey," fine, if things get bad this summer, then she better be ready to accept responsibility for doing something. So far, she seems to be, um, acting that way, so I don't see her shirking anything.

Voting closed 56


Her title doesn’t bother me, it is when the “acting” part of it is used to belittle her role.

Voting closed 28

Does it bother you when Janey omits "acting" to inflate her role?

Because it's that specific action spurring people to point out the facts of her job limitations.

Voting closed 22

Because it's that specific action spurring people to point out the facts of her job limitations.

Speaking for yourself and the mouse in your pocket.

Voting closed 13

“Does it bother you when Janey omits "acting" to inflate her role

No, but you’re clearly pressed about the omission of her title. ;p

Voting closed 12

For all intents and purposes she has all the power of a mayor seeking re election.

I don't think any court had ever stepped in and halted the powers of an acting mayor in this commonwealth.

It's 100% up to her discretion whats is and is not “urgent or not permitting delay” she enforced the city charter (or not) on her self. The city of Boston website and press conference tapestries say “Mayor Janey” because that'd what SHE wants. It's not a typo. No one coming and “fixing” the city website, why? Because she is the big boss.

That's her call. Anyone she appoints now can and will be there if she is still mayor in January. Just like any other mayor.

As we've seen in this case there really no Judge that will stop her.

On another note Boston is on pace for a record low homicide and crime rate so there's virtually nothing to try to blame her about with crime. We've had like 15 homicides, its like Canada.

For all the she “doesn't have the authority” BS talk, none of that has meant a damn thing on the ground, she does what she wants.

Voting closed 16

I don't think any court had ever stepped in and halted the powers of an acting mayor in this commonwealth.

The court did block an acting mayor over "matters not admitting of delay", 100 years ago in Dimick v Barry. Before Walsh left office, an attorney within the City of Boston Law Department even commented that an acting mayor probably cannot fire a political appointee.

Janey can run as an incumbent until she can't. She can go before a podium and speak as mayor, but as soon as she does some action that triggers a lawsuit, she's exposed. White hasn't (yet) challenged her standing as acting mayor, and a judge has not ruled on it. White only challenged details about the process.

Janey also needs to maintain support from the city council. If they vote to affirm Matt O'Malley as City Council president (which is exactly how Janey is presenting his status) then she suddenly stops being acting mayor.

Voting closed 15

I agree to abiding by the law. And Dennis White should have as well.

Janey simply did what any person with common sense would have. Whether she's acting Mayor, running for Mayor, or scratching her ass on Methadone Mile, she's doing what is right for the City she is currently serving.

Many people already have a high level of distrust for police for various reasons. She would have been remiss (in spite of her limitations) to not pursue this.

I mean, a criminal as our police commissioner?

Yes, that's the guy I'd trust! Thanks Marty. You had such a fire under your ass to jump ship, you gave zero fucks about how you left your city. No proper vetting, obviously, or more likely you knew and didn't give a rat's ass.

Voting closed 18

White was a crap choice. BPD needs to clean house now. And no more money for them until they do.

Voting closed 29

Maybe somebody should ask why Janey is firing a Black Man? There were no charges pressed against him, this is B.S.

Voting closed 11

The standards in an employment case are different. And ultimately being police commissioner is a political decision - you serve at the pleasure of the mayor. Let's not forget that two judges now (one in Superior Court, one on the appeals court) ruled they could not stop Janey from ordering White off the job (also note they did not dismiss his suit, which he can now pursue, just not to keep his job).

You might want to actually watch her press conference - it's only about 13 minutes.

It wasn't just the report, it was the way White has conducted himself over the past month or so, trying to tear down his former wife and bringing up old family business that - thanks, Marty - should never have become public (yes, he has a daughter who supported his story; don't forget the other daughter, who spent an hour+ tearing into him on Facebook last week).

Janey lost confidence in him as a leader and said that in an era when domestic-violence victims still often aren't taken as seriously as they should be the police, the last thing we need is somebody who's spent the last month going after his ex like he did, even if you don't believe the allegations against him (which she made clear she does believe).

And, yes, he brought up the whole repressed-Black-man thing, which might have worked if Walsh were still mayor, (except if Walsh were still mayor, White might have been reinstated, because Walsh's own corporation counsel tried to stop the investigation before it was finished). But, please, you're trying that with somebody like Janey, whose family has been a big part of the Black community in Boston going back, what, several generations?

Voting closed 25