Walsh’s administration begins to take shape

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced three more appointments Thursday, elevating staff members from the previous administration to interim positions running Boston’s public works, transportation, and technology departments.

Stung by leaks to the media of earlier appointments, the fledgling administration tried a new approach. Daniel Koh, the chief of staff, blasted an e-mail to all city employees at 4:46 p.m. to share the news.

With the first week of Walsh’s administration drawing to a close, the outlines of the new mayor’s team have begun to take shape. Walsh has surrounded himself with a mix of new blood, holdovers from the administration of former mayor Thomas M. Menino, and familiar faces from the Legislature and Dorchester.


One of Walsh’s police drivers, Sergeant Winifred Cotter, is his first cousin. Cotter will be one of several members of Walsh’s security detail. Her mother and the mayor’s father were siblings.

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“There are a lot of Walsh cousins in Boston,” said administration spokeswoman Kate Norton. “She’s exceptionally qualified for the position.”

Cotter is first female security detail officer for a Boston mayor, Norton said. She joined the force in 1983, served as a detective for nine years in Mattapan, and has been a sergeant since 2007.

Other Walsh confidants to join the administration include Joyce Linehan of Dorchester as chief of policy; state Representative Eugene O’Flaherty of Chelsea, the new corporation counsel; and Joseph Rull of Norwell, a close campaign adviser who will serve as director of operations.

The fresh faces include Koh, who served briefly in the Menino administration but lived most recently in New York City. Another newcomer is Alejandra St. Guillen, executive director of Oiste, who was appointed interim director of the Office of New Bostonians.


Despite the change in mayors, remnants of the Menino administration still occupy many leadership posts at City Hall. This week, Walsh administered the oath of office to several Menino department heads.

On Thursday morning, almost a dozen of Menino’s top staffers stood at the back of a press conference at which William B. Evans was named police commissioner. (Menino had appointed Evans interim police commissioner.)

The afternoon appointments included Michael Dennehy, who was elevated from assistant superintendent of public works to interim commissioner. Dennehy, 45, has worked for public works for 18 years. He began in highway operations and later worked in trash and recycling. His duties have included working with global positioning technology to track public works equipment and snow plows. Dennehy lives in Milton and would be required to move to Boston if he became commissioner permanently.

Jim Gillooly, 62, was appointed interim transportation commissioner after serving as the department’s deputy commissioner. He has managed the department’s planning, engineering, and Central Artery divisions. Gillooly lives in Hyde Park.

Justin Holmes was named interim chief information officer. Holmes, 33, of South Boston, worked for almost four years as Menino’s director of constituent engagement. In that job, Holmes oversaw the city’s 24-hour hotline and worked with other high-tech endeavors, including the Citizens Connect mobile app. He previously worked for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority and in the office of former city councilor Maureen Feeney.


“There will be more announcements coming soon,” Koh said in the e-mail.

Andrew Ryan can be reached at