After Feeney decision, crowded field expected in District 3

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Apr. 20, 2011

Councillor Maureen FeeneyCouncillor Maureen FeeneyWith City Councillor Maureen Feeney’s announcement of her decision to not seek another two year term after 17 years in office, a crowded field of candidates is expected to emerge.

Local realtor Craig Galvin and John O’Toole, past president of the Cedar Grove Civic Association, say they’re running. Catherine O’Neill, host of the Boston Neighborhood Network’s “The Boston Connection” show is also expected to jump into the race.

Other names in circulation include Eileen Fenton of the Columbia Savin Hill Civic Association; Michael Mackan, chief of Boston’s Code Enforcement Police; Michael Christopher, manager of public policy and public affairs at the Executive Office of Public Safety; Doug Hurley, a St. Mark’s civic activist and former legislative aide to state Rep. Jim Brett; and Ed Geary, deputy director for communications and external affairs for Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral, among others.

Two previously unsuccessful candidates for City Council At-Large, Marty Hogan and Doug Bennett, jumped into the race several months ago, saying they would run regardless of whether Feeney runs for another term or not.

Phil Carver of the Pope’s Hill Civic Association, whose name has frequently come up among the list of potential candidates, is backing O'Toole.

Wednesday, April 20, is the first day to apply for nomination papers.

Feeney, through media outlets, said she is not running for a ninth term.

A Dorchester Democrat, Feeney has represented the bulk of the neighborhood on the 13-member City Council since 1993, when she replaced James Byrne as District 3 councillor. She had previously served as his chief of staff and worked in the insurance industry.

Voters repeatedly returned her to office by wide margins, and in 2007, her colleagues unanimously elected her as City Council president. Feeney, who instituted a term limit of two years to the presidency, was the second woman to hold the ceremonial post, after Louise Day Hicks held it in 1976. Feeney was re-elected to the job in 2008.

City Council President Stephen Murphy, a close friend of Feeney’s, said she has been a role model for the younger councillors.

“She’s the genuine article,” he said. “She puts people first. They say politics is an increasingly plastic business, where you have pollsters and spin doctors and this and that. And Maureen was a very real person in a sometimes very, very plastic business.”

A second generation Irish American, Feeney is the current chair of the council’s Government Operations Committee. The councillor, whose biography on the City Council website highlights her support of neighborhood health centers and protection of nonprofit care facilities, has worked on a myriad of issues during her lengthy tenure, from helping save Carney Hospital from closure to convening a civic summit with a crowd of over 450 civic and neighborhood associations.

Feeney attended grammar school in St. Matthew's parish and high school at Notre Dame Academy in Roxbury and then Hingham, as well as Mass Bay Community College and UMass Boston.

Feeney, who ran unsuccessfully for state Senate twice, told the Reporter in November 2010 that she was leaning towards another Council run, adding that she would not run for reelection in 2013.

UPDATE: This story was updated at 10:36 a.m. on Wednesday with City Council President Stephen Murphy's comments and an update to the list of potential candidates.