Walsh re-evaluates nomination to BRA board

Mayor Martin J. Walsh is delaying his nomination of Theodore Landsmark to the Boston Redevelopment Authority board until the former college president has resolved his separation agreement with Boston Architectural College.

Landsmark, who had been president of Boston Architectural College for 17 years, was dismissed from his job by the school’s board of trustees last Thursday. His lawyers have since been in negotiations with the school over a separation package. But on Tuesday, as the mayor released a glowing press release about Landsmark’s experience, it was clear Walsh had not been informed of the circumstances of Landsmark’s departure from the college.

Late Wednesday night, Walsh’s spokeswoman, Kate Norton, issued a statement saying, “Mayor Walsh and Dr. Theodore Landsmark have agreed not to proceed at this time until matters between Dr. Landsmark and the Boston Architectural College have been resolved.”


She said Walsh has not rescinded Landsmark’s appointment but would reserve action “until a resolution and understanding have been reached” between the parties.

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Landsmark maintains that he was not fired, and that he was negotiating with the college over his future role there. But the chairman of the board of trustees, Marc Pelletier, reiterated: “After 17 years, it was time to change the leadership. We did make the change, last Thursday.’’

Pelletier said that the board last week offered Landsmark the title of president emeritus, a first for the college, but that Landsmark did not immediately accept it. Negotiations were ongoing as of Wednesday afternoon, Pelletier said.

While the mayor’s office wassurprised to learn that Landsmark had been dismissed by his board, college officials also were caught off guard by the news that their former president had been offered a director’s post at the BRA, a part-time role with a $10,000 stipend.

On Wednesday, Pelletier said: “We endorse the mayor’s choice for Ted Landsmark to serve on the BRA board. We think his experience and his knowledge, his design and governing experiences will serve the city really well.’’


The confusion has been a blow to all sides, as the mayor sought to appoint a high-profile civic leader to the BRA, and as Landsmark, 68, had planned to quietly transition to a new role.

The college board had voted him out of his position, Pelletier said in a letter posted on the college’s website, because it is facing financial challenges and needs to attract more students.

Beth Healy can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @HealyBeth.