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Days away from Walsh departure, Boston’s equity chief is resigning

Boston's equity chief, Karilyn Crockett, is resigning from her City Hall post.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/File 2020

Karilyn Crockett, who was appointed the city’s first equity chief last summer and is rumored to be a potential mayoral candidate, is resigning from her Cabinet-level City Hall post, likely days before Mayor Martin J. Walsh leaves to become the nation’s next labor secretary.

Last June, Walsh chose Crockett to head the city’s new equity office amid widespread protests calling for the dismantling of systemic racism. The new entity was created to combat racial injustice and support marginalized communities in the city.

Earlier this week, Crockett submitted her resignation, which is effective March 5. GBH first reported the news.

“Your visionary commitment to embedding equity in all City of Boston plans, processes, and regulations has led to path-breaking work in the areas of police reform, racial equity, health equity, and economic inclusion,” she said in her letter to Walsh.


In recent weeks, Crockett has been rumored to be considering joining the rapidly-developing and crowded mayoral race. Attempts to reach Crockett to discuss her future plans on Thursday were unsuccessful. A Walsh spokesman said Thursday no one has been selected to succeed Crockett as equity chief, adding that Crockett’s chief of staff, Natasha White, and the office’s deputy director, Domonique Williams, will lead the office’s work for now.

Crockett’s resignation is the latest shake-up at City Hall ahead of Walsh’s anticipated departure to Washington, D.C. He is expected to be confirmed by the US Senate as labor secretary soon, perhaps as early as next week. Once Walsh leaves, City Council President Kim Janey will become acting mayor.

Ahead of that transition, Walsh’s chief of staff, Kathryn Burton, his chief of policy, Joyce Linehan, and the city’s corporation counsel, Eugene O’Flaherty, have all said they plan to leave their City Hall posts. Walsh’s economic development chief, John Barros, also recently handed in his resignation, and, on Thursday, announced he was running for mayor.


At the time Crockett’s appointment was announced last year, Walsh’s administration said her office would be charged with “leading the administration’s efforts across departments to embed equity into all city work, and actively work to dismantle racism by putting an intentional focus on supporting communities of color and marginalized groups across all departments, and building equitable governmental structures to sustain this work.”

If Crockett were to run for mayor, she would join a crowded field. In addition to Barros, City Councilors Andrea Campbell, Annissa Essaibi George, and Michelle Wu, and state Representative Jon Santiago have all declared their candidacies. Dorchester resident Dana Depelteau has also filed paperwork with the state to run for mayor. Janey, who will be acting mayor once Walsh leaves, has not said if she will run for a full mayoral term in this fall’s municipal elections.

Before she accepted her City Hall gig last year, Crockett was working as an MIT lecturer specializing in urban history, public policy, and planning. The university’s website now lists her as on leave. Crockett had previously worked as director of economic policy and research and director of small business development for the city of Boston.

Danny McDonald can be reached at Follow him @Danny__McDonald.