New energy for the Council

Andrea Campbell and Annissa Essaibi-George, two women from our neighborhood, will join the Boston City Council next year thanks to their impressive victories on Tuesday. In doing so, they will double the number of women councillors and bring youthful energy and fresh ideas to the body. Importantly, from this vantage point, they will bring to the council their life experience as sisters, mothers, aunts, and daughters that will help to inform policies as they join existing councilors in choosing new leadership to guide the legislative arm of city government.

Essaibi-George, 41, grew up in a Dorchester Ave. three-decker as a first-generation American. She will add a valuable perspective to the council, especially on matters related to public education, small businesses (she owns the Stitch House), and the vital role of civic associations in offering a check and balance to government and development. (She is a former president of the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association.)

Campbell, a product of Boston Latin School with an inspiring personal story, grew up in both Dorchester and Mattapan and lives on the border of Lower Mills in Ward 17. She is a 33-year-old lawyer who can relate to the struggles of both longtime Bostonians and people who are new to our community.

Steve Murphy and Charles Yancey will leave the council on a disappointing note, having lost their seats after long careers. Both men deserve our thanks for their service. Replacing their institutional knowledge of the workings of City Hall will be a challenge for the next council.

In a letter to the editor printed in the Reporter last week, Dorchester resident Barry O. Lawton outlined what he saw as shortfalls during the first two years of the Walsh administration. His letter included a substantial factual inaccuracy that needs correcting.

Lawton asserted that there had been no release of data detailing the racial composition of new city hires since June 2014. This is incorrect. The Walsh administration issued a detailed Workforce Profile Report in April 2015 that was prepared by Shaun Blaugh, the city’s chief diversity officer, and his deputy, Freda Brasfield. It was published online and disseminated to the press.

The report included a breakdown of both gender and racial hires from Jan. 5, 2014 when the Walsh administration took charge, to March 2015. It showed that of the 1,327 new and part-time hires made on Walsh’s watch, 58 percent had been of women and 49 percent had been of “non-white” individuals, including 26 percent black, 13 percent Hispanic, and 5 percent Asian. As of March 2, 2015, the report noted,  the city workforce as a whole, which totaled 16,994 full and part-time workers, was roughly 58 percent white and 42 percent non-white, with the latter including 26 percent black, 11 percent Hispanic, and 4 percent Asian individuals. Women made up the majority of employees at 52 percent, the report said.

At the time it was issued, Walsh acknowledged that the report “represents a blueprint of where we are in city government when it comes to race and diversity of our workforce. It is our priority to not only improve the numbers but to create a strong pipeline that will ensure we are finding the best talent and cultivating that talent for positions throughout City Hall,” the mayor said.

The full report is available for review at our website,

– Bill Forry