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September 19, 2013
Councilor Linehan Responds to Globe on School Committee

"To set the record straight:

• The original referendum of 1989 sent to the voters asking for a yes vote on appointing our School Committee included that all appointments would be “confirmed by the Boston City Council.”

• I supported that referendum and worked on the campaign to get it passed.  Ray Flynn was Mayor at the time.• State Law requires a Home Rule Petition to be passed by the State government to change the Charter of Boston.  Confirmation of School Committee members was removed in that process in 1990, even though the voters approved City Council confirmation in the original referendum. 

• As the Chair of Economic Development and Planning, I routinely hold hearings and move confirmations to the entire Council on vital Mayoral appointments Boston Redevelopment Authority Board, Landmarks Commission, and Zoning Board of Appeals.  Other confirmations are required by law for mayoral appointments by the City Council.

• Confirmation of appointments does not give the Council the ability to directly influence decisions.  It gives the Council the ability to vet appointees and to interface with committee members on behalf of residents. 

Councilor Baker filed a Home Rule Petition to change the makeup of the School Committee, a bold move but one I did not support.  The petition I offered is not only a compromise but aligns with the original referendum.  A hearing will be held on the matter on September 26th by the Chair of Government Operations.

This law change will build on the existing referendums intent and will allow for greater input by residents on who should serve on the Boston School Committee.  This is not council interference; it is about access and opportunity for input by those who do not fully agree with the Mayor’s appointments."

Bill Linehan, Boston City Councilor, District 2

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