City’s green champion to leave mayor’s cabinet

James W. Hunt III, Mayor Thomas Menino’s chief of environment and energy, is stepping down at the end of July. The Dorchester native, who first took the job in 2005 and is expected to remain a personal adviser to Menino, will be looking at private sector opportunities.

Jim Hunt IIIJim Hunt III
“Jim Hunt helped chart the course for making our city a model 21st Century sustainable city,” Menino said in a statement. “He helped build greener buildings and better neighborhoods, attract new companies and create good green jobs, and has simply improved people’s lives. While his leadership will be missed in city government, I know he will continue to do great things for the City of Boston.”

Hunt, who said he’s leaving to ponder “what is the next chapter of my career,” oversees the Inspectional Services Department, the Environment Department, Parks Planning and the city’s recycling policy, according to Menino’s office. He has been credited with helping create a citywide plan for the reduction in carbon emissions, implementing green building zoning, developing the “Renew Boston” program, a groundwater protection plan, and establishing the first municipal energy management unit.

“He took a chance on me and has given me a lot of latitude to help him shape an agenda and make a difference in greening Boston,” Hunt said.

In the State House, he served as a legislative aide to former Sen. Paul White and as assistant secretary for environmental affairs in Gov. Paul Cellucci’s administration.

He unsuccessfully ran for state representative in 1997. The field of candidates included future Attorney General Martha Coakley and Marty Walsh, who ended up winning the Thirteenth Suffolk District House seat.

Roseanne Foley, a local environmental activist, praised Hunt’s tenure, describing him as someone who “wants to work things out and gets things done.”

Hunt pledged to stay involved in the community after he leaves City Hall. “While I’m leaving city government and government service for a while and hoping to get into the right private sector challenge and opportunity for my personal growth, I’m by no means leaving public service,” he said.

Hunt said the programs he worked on helped engage residents in environmental issues.

“That’s the Menino way,” Hunt said. “That’s the one thing he always says: How is this going to help people in the neighborhoods? How can we touch people in the neighborhoods? I think we’ve done that through a lot of the policies and programs we’ve been able to implement together.

According to a biography on the city’s website, Hunt has degrees from UMass-Amherst and Suffolk University Law School. He also attended Boston Latin.

He lives in Dorchester with his wife Robin and their children Ella and Matthew.

“I wish him the best,” said Foley.