He may be the mayor (well, almost), but he still cannot control the weather.
Boston’s mayor-elect, Martin J. Walsh, was forced to scrap much of his planned day of community service events Friday, as the city continued to dig out of the massive snowstorm that hit much of Massachusetts Thursday.
While the day was meant to be the first of his four-day inaugural tour, Walsh instead spent his morning receiving a tutorial on snow removal and helping city officials from the outgoing administration monitor snow cleanup.
Walsh began his day by dropping into a reload center for the city’s snowplow and salt truck drivers, who have been working long hours for much of this week.
Accompanied by Mike Dennehy, a longtime public works employee who will assume responsibility for snow removal Monday, and carrying coffee and doughnuts for the drivers, a bundled-up Walsh entered the Dorchester loading center’s front door just after 11 a.m.
“The hard part about the snow today is the fact that we had a bunch of inaugural activities that we had to cancel,” Walsh said. The service events included a Recovery Awareness Event with former NBA player Chris Herren in the North End, which has been planned for Saturday night.
Walsh and Dennehy said they are happy with how the city handled the storm, which comes at a precarious time for the city as Menino administration officials are leaving and Walsh has yet to hire a full staff or appoint key members to his administration.
“I’ve been driving around a little bit in the city today, and it looks good,” Walsh said.
Dennehy will take over snow removal responsibilities on Monday, after the retirement of Elmo Baldassari, the city’s current snow czar, takes effect. Dennehy said he has been helping the current administration’s public works officials survey street conditions through much of the two-day storm.
“With the salt now getting put on the road, it’s really starting to open the roads up,” Dennehy said.
Walsh, who spent part of Thursday cleaning out his State House office, noted how different the executive position he will soon hold is from the legislative role he has played for years.
“Being a rep . . . you don’t have to worry about making sure the snow is being plowed, not worried about watching the weather five, six, seven days out — there’s another storm coming, by the way, it’s in Cincinnati.” Walsh said. “This is something that the mayor is responsible for, making sure the streets are safe, and making sure they are plowed.”
But the mayor-elect was able to salvage a handful of his planned public service events.
Walsh and a team of volunteers spent about an hour at Generation Citizen, a civics academy in Jamaica Plain, helping students who gathered despite the snowy day.
Then Walsh proceeded to Rosie’s Place, a community center for poor and homeless women, where he helped serve dinner.
“The mayor-elect has been a big support of ours for 15 years,” said Sue Marsh, the center’s executive director. “I’m not surprised that he wanted to visit today, because he’s been terrific.”
Many of the women eating the meal wanted to take a photo with Walsh, and many of the volunteers at the center talked about how excited they are to see him take office.
“Who is that?” asked a young boy seated at one of the tables next his mother, as Walsh posed for a picture with the other volunteers.
“It’s the president, duh!” proclaimed the young girl sitting next to him.