Mayor Thomas M. Menino did not wait long Wednesday to tweak the growing field of city councilors jockeying to succeed him as mayor, taking aim at candidates and potential candidates at his annual budget breakfast in the Eagle Room at City Hall.
Looking at a room filled with almost all of the city’s top officials, Menino
talked about his $2.6 billion budget proposal and noted that several city councilors were absent.
“They are out campaigning,” Menino quipped, eliciting laughter.
As if on cue, Councilor Felix G. Arroyo, who launched his mayoral bid Tuesday, entered the room.
“I say the candidates aren’t here yet,” Menino quipped, “and he walks in.”
“Am I the first candidate to show up?” he asked.
Menino cast a glance at Councilor Michael P. Ross, who has said he is strongly considering a run, but has yet to announce his candidacy.
“The only declared [candidate],” the mayor joked as he looked at Ross. “You never know. I want to be a political consultant this year.”
Several other declared candidates arrived behind Arroyo, including Councilors John R. Connolly and Rob Consalvo. After the budget presentation of pie charts and percentages, Ross stood up to leave.
“Michael, are you running to a press conference?” Menino asked.
“I am,” he said, smiling as he walked out of the room.
But as in most of his past budget breakfasts, Menino saved his best for Councilor Charles C. Yancey, with whom he has jousted since 1983, when both men were first elected to the City Council.
“Next year, you’ll have somebody else sitting here,” Menino said. “Maybe Charles.”
“Was that an endorsement?” asked Yancey, who has said he may run for mayor.
“Of course not,” Menino said.
Yancey in recent years has shown up to the breakfast late, which he did again Wednesday. And Yancey has often asked the first question, which he did again. Menino opened the floor as others looked down when Yancey spoke up.
“Charles, of course,” Menino said to Yancey, who was seated next to him. “I’ve got my cane. I’ll whack you.”
Yancey laughed and grabbed Menino’s cane in jest. He thanked the city’s budget staff and mentioned building a new high school in Mattapan, a project Yancey has been pushing for a decade.
“Thank God,” Menino said, “it’s the last time I have to listen to this one.”