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City contract with McChrystal Group to guide coronavirus response is worth almost $500,000

Retired Army General Stanley McChrystal shown in 2019 in Fairfax, Va.Alex Wong/Getty Images/file

The City of Boston has signed a contract with a consulting firm led by a retired four-star Army general to help guide its coronavirus response at a price tag close to half a million dollars, according to a copy of the agreement.

But the city expects to be reimbursed for its payments to the McChrystal Group through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which repays local government expenses for technical assistance on emergency management.

On Friday night, a spokeswoman for Mayor Martin J. Walsh lauded the firm for the assistance it has provided.

"We are grateful to have their expertise and guidance as we make critical decisions to keep the residents of Boston healthy and safe through this public health crisis,” Samantha Ormsby, the spokeswoman, said in a statement.

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Walsh announced last month that he was hiring the Virginia-based consulting firm, led by retired general Stanley McChrystal, who once commanded US and international forces in Afghanistan, and that the firm would firm take a look at “every aspect” of city government.

“I am not willing to leave anything to chance when it comes to the safety and well-being of our residents,” Walsh said at the time. “This is uncharted territory.”

The mayor indicated then that Boston would share the best practices of The McChrystal Group with communities across the state if other municipalities found such insight to be helpful.

Walsh did not then announce the price tag. The city is paying $458,122 for the McChrystal Group’s services through the end of May, with the option of extending the contract at a rate of $229,061 a month. The contract caps city expenditures at $1,145,305.

The contract says the consulting firm “will advise and guide Boston’s COVID-19 response systems to plan, direct, monitor and assess response efforts.”

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Danny McDonald of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.