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Martin Walsh pushes service projects

Silent on key personnel picks

Mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh said Monday that encouraging Bostonians to serve others will be a hallmark of his time in office and a key feature of his inaugural program.

“Oftentimes we get caught up on the details of life, and we really don’t always look and say, ‘What can we give back to the community?’ ” Walsh said. “We have a real opportunity here, with a new administration coming . . . to be able to change the mind-set and have people give back.”

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At a press conference at his inaugural committee office in Dorchester, Walsh highlighted several community service projects that will be part of the run-up to his Jan. 6 swearing-in ceremony.

They include events across the city, from a Habitat for Humanity building project in Roslindale to meal preparation at Rosie’s Place in Roxbury.

Noticeably absent was any announcement about personnel appointments in the new administration, although the inauguration is only a week away.

Walsh said he had not decided who will serve as his chief of staff, a key role.

Several of Walsh’s friends and advisers said that even they were unsure whom Walsh would select to serve as his chief of staff, and some observers said they were surprised that Walsh remained mum about key staffing decisions.

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“I think it is unusual when an executive spends this much time during a transition without major personnel announcements,” said Peter Ubertaccio, a political science professor at Stonehill College.

“Typically, you want those people in place so they can transition with the members of the outgoing administration.”

Walsh said Monday that he was focused on the community service aspect of his inauguration.

Pressed by reporters on his staffing decisions, Walsh said, “We’ll be making announcements at some point shortly.”

The mayor-elect is set to be sworn into office by Roderick L. Ireland, chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, at a ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. Jan. 6 at Boston College’s Conte Forum.

Outgoing Mayor Thomas M. Menino will not attend that ceremony. But Walsh said Monday that there were “no hard feelings at all on that.”

He added that he and the mayor had been working well together during the transition.

Meanwhile on Monday, the office of Secretary of State William F. Galvin announced the dates of the special election for voters in a diverse swath of Dorchester to choose Walsh’s successor in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

The primary election for the heavily Democratic 13th Suffolk District has been set for March 4, with a general election April 1.

The Democratic nominee will be the heavy favorite to succeed Walsh.

Two hopefuls have filed paperwork with the state for a run to succeed Walsh: Dan Hunt, director of government affairs at the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Tony T. Dang, an MBTA Transit Police officer and Vietnamese-American community activist. Both are Democrats.

Walsh has been a state representative since 1997. His resignation from the chamber will take effect Jan 3.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jm_bos.

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