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Boston City Council

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Boston City Council
03-30-07-BostonCityHall.jpg
City Council chambers are in Boston City Hall
Members13 (9 district, 4 at-large)
Term2 years
PresidentKim Janey (2020–present)
Election years1983 1985 1987 1989 1991 1993 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015 2017 2019

The Boston City Council is the legislative branch of government for the city of Boston, Massachusetts. It is made up of 13 members: 9 district representatives and 4 at-large members. Councillors are elected to two-year terms and there is no limit on the number of terms an individual can serve. Boston uses a strong-mayor form of government in which the city council acts as a check against the power of the executive branch, the mayor. The Council is responsible for approving the city budget; monitoring, creating, and abolishing city agencies; making land use decisions; and approving, amending, or rejecting other legislative proposals.

The leader of the City Council is the president and is elected each year by the Council. A majority vote (7–6) is necessary to elect a councillor to president. When the Mayor of Boston travels out of state or is removed from office, the City Council president serves as acting mayor. The president leads Council meetings and appoints councillors to committees.

Districts and current council

Electoral map of the Boston City Council, 2012
Electoral map of the Boston City Council, 2012
Partisanship of Boston City Council, officially nonpartisan
Partisanship of Boston City Council, officially nonpartisan
District[1][2] Area[3] Councillor[4] In office since
District 1 Charlestown, East Boston, North End Lydia Edwards 2018 (January)
District 2 Downtown, South Boston, South End Edward M. Flynn 2018 (January)
District 3 Dorchester Frank Baker 2012 (January)
District 4 Mattapan, Dorchester, Roslindale, Jamaica Plain Andrea Campbell 2016 (January)
District 5 Hyde Park, Roslindale Ricardo Arroyo 2020 (January)
District 6 Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury Matt O'Malley 2010 (November)
District 7 Roxbury Kim Janey, President 2018 (January)
District 8 Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway–Kenmore, Mission Hill, West End Priscilla Kenzie Bok 2020 (January)
District 9 Allston, Brighton Liz Breadon 2020 (January)
  (At-large) Michael F. Flaherty 2014 (January)
  (At-large) Annissa Essaibi George 2016 (January)
  (At-large) Julia Mejia 2020 (January)
  (At-large) Michelle Wu 2014 (January)

By law, Boston municipal elections are nonpartisan in that candidates do not represent a specific political party. However, most city councillors have been members of the Democratic Party. John W. Sears was the first Republican elected to the Boston City Council, in 1980.[5] Chuck Turner, who served during 1999–2010, was a member of the Green-Rainbow Party. Althea Garrison, who served during 2019,[6] has identified as an independent since 2012.

Committees

As of January 2020, the City Council has the following committees:[7]

Standing committees
Special committees
  • Special committee on Charter Reform

Salary

The salary for councillors is half of the mayor's salary. Every four years, the Council votes on whether or not to raise the mayor's salary, thereby also raising its own salaries or not.

In June 2018, the Council voted to increase the salary of the mayor from $199,000 to $207,000, effective after the mayoral election of November 2021 (term starting in January 2022); this increased the salary of councillors to $103,500, effective after the council elections of November 2019 (terms starting in January 2020).[8][9]

City Council salaries since 1980
Year(s) Salary Ref.
1980 $20,000 [10]
1981–1986 $32,500 [11][12]
1987–1994 $45,000 [12][13]
1995–1998 $54,500 [14]
1999–2002 $62,500 [15]
2003–2006 $75,000 [16][17]
2006–2015 $87,500 [18]
2016–2019 $99,500 [18]
2020–present $103,500 [9][19]

History

Prior to 1909, Boston's legislative body consisted of an eight-member Board of Aldermen and a Common Council made up of three representatives from each of the 25 wards in the city. When the Boston city charter was rewritten in 1909, the Board of Aldermen and the Common Council were replaced by a nine-member City Council.[20] All nine councillors were elected at-large for terms lasting two years. The new charter also gave the Mayor the power to veto all acts of the City Council. The first council meeting as a unicameral body occurred on February 7, 1910.[21]

The procedure for electing city councillors was changed by Chapter 479 of the Acts of 1924, which provided for the election of 22 city councillors, one from each ward, beginning with the biennial election in 1925. The procedure was changed again by Chapter 356 of the Acts of 1951, which provided for the election of nine city councillors, all at large, for two-year terms.[22]

District representation

In November 1981, Boston voters approved again changing the composition of the Council, to 13 members: 9 district representatives and 4 at-large members. However, the referendum did not indicate how the district lines would be drawn, only that the districts be of approximately equal population[23] and district lines not cut across city precincts.

The Council created a districting committee to propose several different possible district maps and hold public hearings before presenting one plan to the Council to approve.[23] State law required the City Council to make a final decision on the districts within 90 days of being notified that the referendum had officially passed, meaning that the Council voting on the districts would be the 1982 Council, not the 1981 Council creating them.[23] Then-president Patrick McDonough, who opposed district representation, appointed Rosemary Sansone, a major advocate of district representation, as chair of the districting committee, but chose Frederick C. Langone, Dapper O'Neil, and John W. Sears as the other three members, all of whom opposed district representation.[24] Both Langone and O'Neil would be returning to the Council in 1982, but Sansone did not run for re-election in 1981 and would not be able to vote on the district boundaries if the committee did not work quickly to present a plan to the Council before the end of the year.[23] Public hearings over possible district boundaries were full of heated debate between advocates of drawing lines to protect neighborhood unity and advocates of drawing lines to create two predominantly minority districts and give minorities a voice in local government.[25] Contention centered around Dorchester and the South End. Dorchester, Boston's largest neighborhood, needed to be split into at least two districts.[26] A simple split in half would create either a north and a south district or an east and a west district.[26] An east district would be largely White (75% or greater) and a west district would be largely African-American. North and south districts would have less extreme majorities. Many residents were opposed to both divisions, stating that they would increase racial segregation in Dorchester and continue the political powerlessness of minorities.[26] A more complicated split taking into account areas with large minority populations would create one predominantly minority district and one predominantly white district but treat Dorchester as several smaller neighborhoods to be divvied up among surrounding neighborhoods rather than as one community.[26] In various proposals, the South End, due to its location, was grouped with either South Boston or Back Bay/Beacon Hill by advocates of neighborhood unity, or Roxbury by advocates of minority-dominated districts.[24]

Two days before the 90-day deadline, freshman councillor Terrence McDermott, who had been appointed as Sansone's replacement for chair of the districting committee, presented a plan to the Council which was approved 7–2 (the dissenting votes came from Raymond Flynn and Bruce Bolling).[27][28] Today's district boundaries are only slightly different than those adopted in 1982, with the South End and South Boston forming one district, and Dorchester roughly split into an east and a west district. The Council faced more challenges after finalizing the new districts, such as whether or not district councillors should receive a lower salary than at-large councillors[29] and where office space for four additional councillors could be found in City Hall.

Presidents

(#) denotes different instances of a councillor serving as president

1.^ O'Neil was elected City Council president after the death of predecessor.[32]

Public records of Boston City Council

Christopher A. Iannella Chamber in Boston City Hall
Christopher A. Iannella Chamber in Boston City Hall
  • City Departments' Annual Reports
  • Complete stenographic machine record of the public meeting of Boston City Council
  • Full text of Captions from Webcasts/Cablecasts of Boston City Council
  • City Council page at boston.gov
    • Publications of Boston City Council
    • Communications of Boston City Council distributed by email
    • Communications of Council Committees

See also

References

  1. ^ "Electoral Maps". Boston Redevelopment Authority. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  2. ^ "City Council District Map". City of Boston. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  3. ^ "2012 Guide to Elected Officials and City Services of Boston". League of Women Voters Boston. Archived from the original on September 26, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  4. ^ "Boston City Council Members". City of Boston. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  5. ^ "Short Circuits". The Boston Globe. January 27, 1980. p. 1. ProQuest 293356284.
  6. ^ Valencia, Milton (September 6, 2018). "Finally, Althea Garrison will be a city councilor". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  7. ^ "Standing Committees, Special Committees". boston.gov. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  8. ^ "Editorial: Elected leaders profit as we pay". Boston Herald. June 29, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Valencia, Milton J. (June 13, 2018). "Mayor, councilors could get 4% raises". The Boston Globe. p. B5. Retrieved March 23, 2019 – via newspapers.com.
  10. ^ Richard, Ray (January 8, 1980). "Iannella new president of Boston City Council". Boston Globe. p. 1. ProQuest 293397598.
  11. ^ Langner, Paul (September 28, 1980). "White to approve his pay hike". Boston Globe. p. 1. ProQuest 293997728.
  12. ^ a b Rezendes, Michael (January 29, 1992). "Raises will be asked for council". Boston Globe. p. 22. ProQuest 294639718.
  13. ^ Jordan, Robert A. (December 27, 1986). "Unfinished '87 business". Boston Globe. p. 25. ProQuest 294384926.
  14. ^ Aucoin, Don (December 22, 1994). "City councilors get a pay raise; Little public outcry heard as officials vote themselves 21 percent increase". Boston Globe. p. 30. ProQuest 290723825.
  15. ^ Schweitzer, Sarah (January 31, 2002). "Ross named to key post as council eyes pay issues". Boston Globe. pp. B.2. ProQuest 405438915.
  16. ^ "The rewards of public service". Boston Globe. June 29, 2003. p. 11. ProQuest 405528161.
  17. ^ Walker, Adrian (February 20, 2006). "What worth councilors?". Boston Globe. pp. B.1. ProQuest 404992402.
  18. ^ a b "Boston City Councilors OK 14 Percent Pay Raise For Themselves". web.archive.org. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  19. ^ "Let voters decide on Boston City Council terms". The Boston Globe. February 26, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  20. ^ O'Connor, T.H. (1997). Boston Irish: A Political History. New York: Back Bay Books.
  21. ^ "Boston City Council 1910–2009: Selected Accomplishments" (PDF): 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 24, 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2011. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  22. ^ "Archives Guide ~ City Council". Archived from the original on April 28, 2015. Retrieved April 27, 2015. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  23. ^ a b c d Radin, Charles A. (November 12, 1981). "Sansone asks neighborhood input on Hub voting-district lines". Boston Globe. p. 1. ProQuest 294237682.
  24. ^ a b Radin, Charles A. (December 9, 1981). "Boston district debate begins with sparring over South End". Boston Globe. p. 1. ProQuest 294126626.
  25. ^ Ashbrook, Tom (December 15, 1981). "Dorchester speakers spar over districting proposals". Boston Globe. p. 1. ProQuest 294105725.
  26. ^ a b c d Radin, Charles A. (January 24, 1982). "Districts – A clash of plans". Boston Globe. p. 1. ProQuest 294125017.
  27. ^ Powers, John (March 7, 1982). "Neighborhood boy remaps city; Terry McDermott solved a political Rubik's Cube". The Boston Globe. p. 1. Retrieved March 1, 2009 – via pqarchiver.com.
  28. ^ Jordan, Robert A. (February 25, 1982). "COUNCIL OK'S 9 DISTRICTS". The Boston Globe. p. 1. Retrieved February 26, 2018 – via pqarchiver.com.
  29. ^ Jordan, Robert A. (March 4, 1982). "Issue for Hub council: What to pay district councilmen". Boston Globe. p. 1. ProQuest 294155654.
  30. ^ "Andrea Campbell; Council President, District 4". City of Boston website. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  31. ^ "New City Council Members Sworn In, Marking Historic Diversity For Boston". WBUR-FM. January 6, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  32. ^ Marquard, Bryan (December 20, 2007). "'Dapper' O'Neil, champion of personal politics, dies at 87". Boston Globe. Retrieved May 31, 2012.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 25 January 2020, at 23:44
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