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From the Boston Bar Journal: Mayor Menino and the Law as an Instrument of Change

by Corporation Counsel Bill Sinnott

A reflection on the legal legacy of Boston’s retiring chief executive

Viewpoint

As the City of Boston witnesses the final weeks of the Menino Administration, much has been and will be written about Mayor Menino’s legacy.  Many of these homages and critiques focus on the city’s economic revitalization.  Others describe the Mayor’s ability to bring together diverse residents and neighborhoods in a city once defined by its fissures.  Still others reference his commitment to public education or his outspoken support of LGBT rights.  Perhaps even more noteworthy in a city that once prided itself on the rogue character of its leaders, many praise the Menino administration for steering free of scandals and corruption.

Having served as a member of Mayor Menino’s administration for almost eight years as Corporation Counsel, I have observed a number of occasions in which Mayor Menino’s seldom-recognized appreciation for the law and its ability to improve the lives of ordinary Bostonians has guided the formulation of City policies.

This article will highlight some of the ways in which the Menino administration employed law and legal process in its pursuit of a better Boston.

Legislation.  The thousands of orders, ordinances and statutes the Mayor filed or championed during his twenty-year tenure reflect his awareness of the power of the law to elevate the condition of city residents, workers and visitors.  The Mayor:

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