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Mayor Walsh’s top aide on schools steps down

George S. Perry Jr. (seated) was said to return to a consulting firm he founded with his wife.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff/File

George S. Perry Jr. (seated) was said to return to a consulting firm he founded with his wife.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s top education adviser resigned Friday after less than four months in the job, marking the second significant departure in a week from the new administration.

George S. Perry Jr., a longtime education consultant from Scituate, worked on Walsh’s campaign and was hired Feb. 3 as one of the top-paid advisers in the mayor’s office, according to payroll records.

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Perry did not respond to a phone message seeking comment. The Walsh administration issued a statement saying that Perry was returning to work at the education consulting firm he founded with his wife.

Last Friday, Walsh’s communication director, Lisa Mansdorf Pollack, submitted her letter of resignation and returned to her previous post at the Department of Neighborhood Development. The departures represented the first shake-ups in Walsh’s City Hall.

Neither was connected to a scandal or public gaffe, but their resignations suggested growing pains in Walsh’s administration, said Peter N. Ubertaccio, political science professor at Stonehill College.

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“He’s a new mayor trying to find his team and his management style,” Ubertaccio said. “It is ultimately better to part with people than to cling to someone out of a false sense of loyalty or a fear of how it may be perceived.”

Last fall, Walsh’s campaign touted Perry as a catch, saying they shared him as a senior education adviser with then-New York mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio. At Boston City Hall, Perry kept a low profile. The administration never publicly announced that Perry had been hired, even though his $130,000 salary made him the second-highest-paid aide in the mayor’s office.

In the statement, Walsh described Perry as a trusted and skilled adviser.

“His expertise in education policy has been a hugely valuable asset to the City of Boston,” Walsh said.

This week, Walsh fired Nancy Lo, the former election commissioner who recently had been an executive assistant at the Inspectional Services Department. Lo’s position was eliminated because new technology meant her job was no longer needed, Walsh’s spokeswoman said.

Other coming departures will include three top school administrators. Boston public school chief financial officer, Donald R. Kennedy Sr., is leaving his post after a year to be closer to his family in Baltimore, according to a school spokesman. Linda P. Chen, the deputy chief academic officer, will also move to Baltimore for a job, the spokesman said.

Carl Allen, the school transportation director largely credited with fixing chronically late buses, is leaving this fall because his wife has a career opportunity elsewhere, said the spokesman, Brian Ballou.

“The end of the school year is usually the time that we see transitions in education,” Ballou said in an e-mail.

Perry’s departure seemed to be more than normal churn. Several parent activists said there had not been enough time to form a full opinion of Perry, but he seemed smart and reserved and was handling the job differently than his predecessor, Martha Pierce, who worked for Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

Megan Wolf, a Jamaica Plain mother and member of a grass-roots group pushing for more good-quality schools, said she was impressed by Perry’s work on Walsh’s transition committee. She met with Perry once at City Hall, Wolf said, and during the meeting he told the parents he had just joined the mayor’s staff.

Parents were surprised there was no formal announcement, Wolf said, especially because active school parents had so much interaction with Pierce.

“If we thought about him as parallel to Martha Pierce, he filled a very different role,” said Wolf, the mother of an eighth- and an 11th-grader. “She was a real go-to person and he wasn’t. Maybe he would have been, but maybe it had to do with how long he had been there.”

Andrew Ryan can be reached at acryan@globe.com.
Follow him on Twitter @globeandrewryan.
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