Change is order of day at City Hall

Mayor Kim Janey has made a number of personnel moves since taking over as the city’s chief executive last Wednesday.

On Monday, her office announced that Patrick Brophy, a Dorchester resident and veteran City Hall operative, will leave soon to take on a new role at Suffolk Construction as that firm’s senior director of external affairs in the Northeast. Brophy most recently served as Mayor Walsh’s chief of operations, a critical post that has oversight over all city-owned buildings, hundreds of employees, and the Inspectional Services Department.

Dion Irish, a Dorchester resident who currently serves as the commissioner of the Inspectional Services Department, will replace Brophy when he leaves the post on April 16.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that the people of Boston have benefited tremendously from Pat’s work, which future generations will continue to enjoy,” Janey said in announcing the move. “Whether it’s new libraries, schools, police and fire stations, community centers, or the ambitious redesign of City Hall Plaza, Pat’s impact on Boston can be felt throughout our neighborhoods. We wish him the best in his new chapter and thank him for his many years of service.”

Irish has served the City of Boston for 25 years in various leadership positions, most recently as commissioner of the Inspectional Services Department (ISD) since 2019. Prior to becoming commissioner, Irish worked at ISD for 17 years, serving previously as assistant commissioner and director of Housing Inspections for 12 years. In 2015, former Mayor Walsh appointed Irish as commissioner of Boston’s Election Department.

Also on Monday, Janey announced the promotion of budget director Justin Sterritt to the role of chief financial officer, replacing Emme Handy, who is headed back to the Broad Institute in Cambridge. Sterritt is a former State House aide who held roles in the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, the Housing and Economic Development secretariat, and as budget director with the House Ways and Means Committee on Beacon Hill. He is now the chief of Boston’s Administration and Finance Cabinet and the custodian of more than 300 city trust funds, “responsible for all aspects of financial management for the City of Boston.” 

Drew Smith, the city’s head of treasury since 2017, is the new deputy chief financial officer.

Another important personnel change has taken place in the city’s law department: Former state legislator and top Boston City Hall lawyer Eugene O’Flaherty has joined the national lobbying firm Ballard Partners. O’Flaherty, a Charlestown Democrat, spent 17 years in the Legislature before joining the City Hall administration of his friend and one-time colleague Marty Walsh as city corporation counsel.

With Walsh entering the Biden administration as labor secretary and members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation occupying a number of prominent roles in Congress, O’Flaherty is joining Ballard’s Washington office. During his tenure at the State House, O’Flaherty spent 12 years chairing the Judiciary Committee. He said he would be traveling back and forth between Boston and Washington, but did not intend to establish a permanent residence in the nation’s capital.

In addition to his work for Ballard, O’Flaherty has also signed on as of counsel with the Boston law firm Sullivan & Worcester.

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Janey’s constituents in the city council’s District 7 — which includes parts of Dorchester and Roxbury— may wonder how her new role as mayor impacts their representation on the council. In fact, following a precedent created the last time a council president was elevated to fill a mayoral vacancy, Janey will no longer fulfill her council duties.

She will retain her title of district councillor, but she will not participate in Council matters while she is mayor,” said Nick Martin, a spokesperson for Janey.

Her council office, which includes a new chief of staff, will continue to field constituent calls and attend neighborhood meetings, etc. But Janey herself will not be voting or attending committee hearings, for example, as a councillor. The District 7 seat will be filled by a new councillor in the fall elections. In her absence, Councillor Matt O’Malley is expected to act as the presiding officer of the council this year.

Bill Forry of the Reporter contributed to this article.

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