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Walsh expected to bring new team of advisers

Mayor-elect Martin Walsh is expected to announce key members of his transition team Friday. Among those who could be key advisers to Walsh are (from left) political consultant Michael Goldman; Thomas Keady, a top political operative; and publicist Joyce Linehan.Globe file photos

With the first major overhaul in City Hall in two decades, Mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh is expected to usher in an entirely new team of advisers, including some of the same voices that helped shape his winning campaign.

But neither of the top two figures in Walsh’s high command will be formally joining the administration, Walsh told the Globe Thursday. Thomas J. Keady Jr., a longtime advance man and operative for the late US Senator Edward M. Kennedy and former US senator John F. Kerry, and Matthew J. O’Neil Jr., a political consultant who once worked for the city at the Boston Redevelopment Authority, will instead advise from outside.


Walsh, who said he has known the two men for more than 15 years, noted that O’Neil does not live in the city, as required of most administration employees, and that neither is interested in working in City Hall.

“They are going to be helpful to me, but no more or less than any other people,” he said.

Walsh’s transition team will include a campaign adviser and two former rivals whose endorsements helped propel him to victory, sources with knowledge of the transition told the Globe Thursday night .

The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the appointments, identified four of the five co-chairs of the transition team. Walsh is expected to announce the picks Friday.

The transition team leaders include former mayoral candidates John F. Barros and Charlotte Golar Richie, as well as public relations executive Joyce Linehan and Katherine P. Craven, executive director of the University of Massachusetts Building Authority.

With Walsh and his team in planning meetings and the mayor-elect set to leave for a Caribbean vacation this weekend, speculation swirled about others who might fill senior administration posts once the new mayor takes office.


One name that surfaced is that of former BostonCoach chief executive Larry Moulter, who played a vital role after the Sept. 24 preliminary election in reintroducing Walsh to a business community leery of his reputation as a diehard union supporter. Though Moulter lives outside the city, he was chairman of the New Boston Garden Corp. that built what is now the TD Garden, and he has deep relationships in downtown boardrooms.

Political observers warned that whoever Walsh brings with him to City Hall will encounter a personnel minefield.

Outgoing Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s machine was divided in Tuesday’s election, with part backing Walsh and another faction supporting Councilor at Large John R. Connolly, even as Menino privately made plain he preferred Connolly. That means that Walsh’s decisions about which members of the Menino administration to keep will be watched closely for signs of favoritism or retribution.

“The transition’s not going to be fun at all,” a State House confidant of Walsh’s told the Globe. “I don’t envy the person that wants to go in with a big job with a big title, because it’s not going to be easy.”

While friends of Keady suggest he would make a good chief of staff, they note he has a secure post as a Boston College vice president and already has the ear of the mayor-elect. H

O’Neil’s involvement in the race was not advertised by the Walsh campaign, potentially because he was fired from the BRA years ago amid scandal.


As BRA chief of staff, he had bought a Boston Harbor-view condo that was price-restricted by his agency and was intended to be reserved for low-income buyers. He was fined by the State Ethics Commission and forced to sell the condo; the lapse also cost the job of Thomas N. O’Brien, then director of the agency. O’Neil did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

Others who will probably have Walsh’s ear, even if they do not play a formal role in the new administration, include consultants Linehan and Michael Goldman, and campaign field director Joe Rull.

Goldman, a longtime Democratic political operative, is not expected to join the administration, but could be involved as an outside adviser.

Rull, legislative affairs director for the state’s Division of Capital Asset Management, served as a labor liaison for Governor Deval Patrick’s 2010 campaign. He also spent years working in City Hall as a special assistant to Menino.

Linehan is a political organizer and a public relations specialist who works largely in the arts on projects such as First Night Boston. She is codirector of Ashmont Records, an independent record label and book publisher.

Political observers say some influence in the new administration will be given to three unsuccessful mayoral candidates who endorsed Walsh and may have delivered him support, particularly in communities of color: Councilor at Large Felix G. Arroyo, Barros, and Golar Richie.

Arroyo said he would be open to taking a position in the Walsh administration, but he has not talked to the mayor-elect about one. Barros, too, said he had not talked to Walsh about a position, though he said he would be “open to talking to Marty about it.”


The list includes “a lot of familiar faces,” said Maura A. Hennigan, clerk magistrate of the Suffolk County criminal court who was on the City Council for 24 years and who unsuccessfully challenged Menino in 2005. She supported Walsh in the final election after backing Arroyo in the preliminary. Nonetheless, she said, she is thrilled to see the influx of new blood and noted that Walsh has pledged to bring new diversity into his Cabinet.

“It’s exciting and refreshing,” she said. “Over time, we really need a breath of fresh air. Although I ran against the mayor, I have great respect for him and his service. He’s made great contributions, but it is time for someone new.”

Walsh advisers said that campaign manager Megan Costello and spokeswoman Kathryn Norton would be invited to join the administration.

Joshua Miller, Akilah Johnson, and Travis Andersen of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Stephanie Ebbert can be reached at Stephanie.Ebbert

Correction: A photo that accompanied a previous version of this story identified the wrong Joe Rull.