Reporter’s Notebook- Unenrolled Dot man casts eyes on Dorcena Forry seat

State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, a Dorchester Democrat who also represents South Boston, Hyde Park, and Mattapan, could have a challenger after all in this fall’s election. Robert E. Powers Jr., a Pierce Avenue resident, pulled nomination papers and submitted the required number of signatures from registered voters earlier this week.

Powers, who is unenrolled, could not be reached for comment and it won’t be clear for a day or two if he has the required number of signatures – 300 – since the local elections department was still processing them as of press time for the Reporter.

Dorcena Forry, a former state representative, won the seat in a special election last year after South Boston’s Jack Hart left for a job at a law firm, topping a three-way Democratic primary that included two residents of South Boston: state Rep. Nick Collins and the Maureen Dahill. Neither Collins nor Dahill pulled papers for a rematch; Collins is running for reelection to his Fourth Suffolk House seat.

Dorcena Forry’s colleague in the state Senate, Sonia Chang-Diaz, could also be facing some opposition from perennial candidate. Roy Owens of Dorchester, who frequently runs for office, appeared at the city’s elections department minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline on Tuesday to turn in his signatures.

Chang-Diaz, a Jamaica Plain Democrat who represents parts of Dorchester and Mattapan, was first elected in 2008, after knocking off former state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson in a primary.

Aside from a few latecomers like Owens, the elections department was largely quiet late Tuesday afternoon as “We Are the Champions” played softly on someone’s computer. A young woman dashed in at the last minute, clutching several sheets of nomination papers for state Rep. Byron Rushing’s seat. “Sorry to make such an entrance,” she said.

Top financial officer, tourism chief are hired; school search is topic
David Sweeney, chief operating officer for the state lottery, will be taking over as the city’s chief financial officer, Mayor Martin Walsh said last week. Sweeney replaces Meredith Weenick, who had served under former Mayor Thomas Menino and left last week. The job is a cabinet position, with oversight of the assessing, auditing, treasury, and registry departments, among others.

“I’m confident he will continue the city’s longstanding practices of fiscal prudence to ensure that Boston’s overall financial health remains strong,” Walsh said in a statement. “I’m also grateful for Meredith Weenick’s service to the city of Boston, particularly during the transition period, and for her leadership in our first budget of the Walsh administration.”

Before taking a job at the lottery, Sweeney was a budget analyst for the House Committee on Ways and Means, before rising to the role of chief fiscal policy adviser to House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

Separately, Walsh also announced a new director of tourism, sports and entertainment. He is Ken Brissette, who worked at the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism as its chief operating officer. Said the mayor: He “has the experience and public and private sector contacts to attract new energy and investment in the city of Boston and invite the world to experience our city."

The director oversees athletic and cultural events, as well as conventions and conferences, according to the mayor’s office. Walsh’s reorganization of city government separated tourism from the arts department.

Another city post, one that is temporarily filled, drew great interest at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast that Walsh addressed on Tuesday. Paul Guzzi, the head of the business group, asked about the status of the search for a new superintendent of schools, and Walsh responded by heaping praise on the interim chief, John McDonough. “We’re not in a big rush” to pick a permanent school superintendent, Walsh said, indicating that he wants more of an administrator than an educator in the role.

McDonough has been the school system’s budget chief since 1996, and was appointed to the interim slot last year, after Carol Johnson said she would be stepping down. At the breakfast, Walsh said the school system needs someone of McDonough’s “caliber.”

A search panel, co-chaired by School Committee member Hardin Coleman and Bank of America’s Robert Gallery, has been tasked with finding Johnson’s permanent replacement.

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