Jackson and O'Malley among councillors eyeing City Council presidency
With the municipal races behind them, city councillors and their new incoming colleagues are turning to another election: City Council president.
District 7 Councillor Tito Jackson (Dorchester, Roxbury and South End), who won another two-year term on Nov. 5 and chairs the Global Opportunities Committee, has been lobbying for the job. District 6 Councillor Matt O’Malley (Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury), chair of the Government Operations Committee, is another name being floated inside City Hall. Other names in the mix, according to City Hall insiders, include District 9 Councillor Mark Ciommo (Allston/Brighton), who has served as Ways and Means Committee chair; District 2 Councillor and Economic Development Committee chair Bill Linehan (South Boston, South End and Chinatown); and District 1 Councillor Sal LaMattina (East Boston, the North End and Charlestown), who has been serving as City Council vice president. District 4 Councillor Charles Yancey (Dorchester and Mattapan), who has spent 30 years on the Council and a single term as president in 2001, will likely make another run at the presidency.
The current City Council president, Stephen Murphy, a councillor at-large who was reelected to the 13-member council in November, is term-limited in the largely ceremonial gig. Elected by a vote of the council, the president gets the gavel, a bigger staff and a spacious office. The president becomes acting mayor if the mayor is absent. The position is a coveted one in part due to Thomas Menino becoming acting mayor in 1993 after President Clinton appointed Ray Flynn ambassador to the Vatican.
Along with a new Council president, members will also see three new faces in January: the South End’s Michelle Wu, who will be the new city councillor at-large; Hyde Park’s Tim McCarthy, the victor in the District 5 race, and Back Bay’s Josh Zakim, who won the District 8 race. Michael Flaherty of South Boston, who left his City Council At-Large seat to run for mayor in 2009, will be back on the council in 2014, after an unsuccessful attempt to regain his seat in 2011.
Four councillors gave up their seats to run for mayor this year: District 5 Councillor Rob Consalvo, District 8 Councillor Michael Ross, and Councillors At-Large John Connolly and Felix Arroyo.
For the first time in years, the cell phones of the outgoing councillors likely will be quieter than usual during Thanksgiving, since they won’t be able to participate in the January vote. “This is the first holiday season in 14 years where the presidency will not be weighing on my mind,” Ross, a former City Council president, said with a chuckle.