City Government at its best can promote prosperity for all, safeguard our fundamental rights, and ensure that every Bostonian has access to their elected officials and can make their voices heard. Yet all too often, the business of the government is conducted behind closed doors or in public meetings that many are not aware of, are unable to attend or do not understand. That needs to change. We need to create a government that is transparent, accessible, representative, and works for every Bostonian. Andrea has years of experience seeing government at its best, including while serving as deputy legal counsel for Governor Deval Patrick. She’s also seen what can happen when government is not transparent or accountable to the people. As a city councilor, Andrea made sure that her constituents had access to the city services they needed and knew what Boston was doing for them and empowered civic leaders to be partners in the work. As Mayor, she’ll do the same for all of Boston.
Andrea’s City government will be inclusive of all Bostonians. Continuing the important work of the Civic Leaders Summit, which she convened for the first time in more than a decade as Council President, Andrea will make sure that civic and community leaders have the opportunity to engage with senior city leaders on all major decisions. To make sure that our City is working best for everyone, Bostonians need to have access to our government.
That is why she is proposing a plan that will make government work better for everyone in our city. Boston is facing big problems and our government needs to be more efficient and innovative if we’re going to solve them. That includes ensuring transparency so that people know what is happening in their city government, promoting and supporting civic engagement so that city hall is accessible to all Bostonians, empowering our City Council to work in partnership in a more meaningful way, and offering practical solutions to everyday problems.
As Mayor, Andrea will:
Make Good on Promises of Transparency and Accountability
Bostonians deserve a city government that works for them. But all too often, our government doesn’t make it easy to hold them accountable. Andrea has spent her entire life in public service working to make sure government works for the people. That’s why she’ll make sure that all Bostonians know what is happening in their city government.
- Create an Inspector General (IG) for Boston. Cities across the country have created and empowered Inspectors General to ensure their government is functioning in the most efficient, effective and transparent manner possible. Andrea has already proposed creating this position and, as Mayor, Andrea will create an independent IG for Boston to ensure our government is absent of any corruption, efficient, transparent, and most importantly accountable to the people we serve daily.
- Implement smart & people-first budgeting. Andrea wants to make sure that people have input into Boston’s budgeting process, while maintaining certainty for the agencies that rely on it. That’s why she’ll work with the City Council to propose legislation implementing several reforms to improve the process, including allowing city councilors to participate more meaningfully in the budget process and enable more participation from residents. As a City Councilor, Andrea has been a leader in pushing for inclusive budgeting and will continue to advocate for these important changes while maintaining Boston’s strong financial reputation and bond rating.
- Increase participatory budgeting and issue-based committees. Bostonians deserve more of a say in how their money is spent. That is why Andrea will propose establishing participatory budget committees for some community-based funds so that Bostonians closest to their community’s needs can have a say in how their taxpayer funds are spent. As Mayor, Andrea will make sure this group is representative and inclusive. She will also establish issue-based committees to consider and make recommendations on critical issues facing Bostonians. This will include implementing year-round opportunities to learn about and engage with the budget to enable civic engagement.
- Make “Boston 311,” the City’s customer service line accessible to all Bostonians by improving language access and addressing other barriers to access. The City’s 311 service is a valuable tool for those who access it and receive a response. But 311 is not accessible to all Bostonians. Andrea will make sure that 311 works for every Bostonian. That includes making sure anyone can use 311 and get a response, regardless of the neighborhood they live in or the language they speak. Andrea will work with community leaders to identify and address barriers to 311 usage in communities with low rates of usage, including the languages that should be included and hire individuals to handle those calls.
- Reimagine the Boston Planning and Development Agency. Simply abolishing the BPDA is not realistic or productive — it would turn development into a chaotic, ad-hoc process at a time when we need consistency and transparency. Andrea will oversee a comprehensive reform process to add consistency, clarity, transparency and engage the community in the decision-making process more effectively. The BPDA in its current state and its predecessor, the BRA, have struggled to win the trust of the community and stakeholders. The agency needs a cultural shift that begins with structural changes that build towards equity and includes a more proactive approach to planning in every neighborhood, starting with the staff and leadership structure. That is why Andrea has a comprehensive proposal to reform the BPDA, which is included in detail in her housing plan.
Take Andrea’s Commitment To Civic Engagement City-wide
Our City is at its best when everyone can be involved and engaged in our government’s work. That is why Andrea has spent her entire career making government more accessible to Bostonians and will make this a top priority as Mayor.
- Establish the Boston Civic Leaders Summit as an annual convening of local civic leaders across the city. In 2019, Andrea convened the first civic summit in over ten years, a convenining of community leaders from across the city. This critical resident-led forum helped bring forward issues facing Bostonians and empowered them to effect change. As Mayor, Andrea will officially make this summit a recurring event to ensure that every Bostonian can have their voice heard.
- Support resident leadership and neighborhood-level organizing. Grassroots, neighborhood-level, resident organizing on important issues – from neighborhood parks, to traffic calming measures, to block parties – have led to incredible enhancements to our city’s quality of life. Andrea will establish an office specifically to support these organizing efforts in communities to help residents access city or other resources, navigate permitting or other departments, and other technical assistance. This office will provide ongoing leadership development opportunities as well as opportunities for resident leaders to connect with one another, beyond the once-a-year Civic Leaders Summit.
- Engage civic leaders, neighborhood associations, and non-profit organizations regularly and actively as part of the governing process. In addition to the annual summit, Andrea will make sure that individuals from across the city have the opportunity to participate in government and weigh in on the important issues facing our city. That is why she is committing to regular meetings and listening sessions with community leaders, including a quarterly public forum.
- Ensure that Boston’s government reflects the people it serves. As Mayor, Andrea will ensure all historically marginalized groups have designated liaisons within the Mayor’s office.
Make Sure Our City Government Reflects the Communities It Serves
Our City representatives, employees and even vendors should look like the community they serve. But all too often that is not the case, and many Bostonians – particularly those from communities of color – face barriers to access. That is why as Mayor, Andrea will implement several reforms to make sure that our government works for everyone, and that everyone can see themselves in our government.
- Reform elections to make elections more accessible and increase turnout. Boston experiences lower turnout in off-cycle elections which can prop up incumbents and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. That is why Andrea will explore solutions to increase turnout, including aligning municipal elections with federal elections. As Mayor, she will work with state leaders to conduct a proper assessment of this potential change, along with others that may improve participation. That process will include gathering input from Bostonians and civic leaders.
- Implement vital voting reforms. Our democracy only works when everyone has access to the ballot box. For too long, people of color and working Bostonians have faced barriers exercising their fundamental right to vote. To fix this, Andrea will work with state and municipal leaders to improve our elections, including making Election Day a city-wide holiday, implementing same-day voter registration, and improving voting-by-mail options by increasing the number and accessibility of ballot dropboxes.
- Cement COVID-19 voting reforms. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about critical changes to ease ballot access. With the safety risks posed by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, we need election reform now to ensure that signatures can be collected digitally, that state leaders pass universal vote by mail ahead of this election, and that there are ample dropboxes in Boston. These changes must become permanent to ensure that every Bostonian can exercise their democratic right to vote.
- Develop a talent pipeline for city workers from all walks of city life. Our city’s employees should look like our city. That’s why Andrea will work with local community colleges, universities, and high schools to provide information on employment opportunities in government. Andrea will explore ways to attract and retain more residents to work in city government. She will also focus on high-level positions in government, including promoting diversity among city agency leaders, to make sure that Bostonians are represented at every level of government.
- Make city procurement equitable and inclusive. Today, Boston’s procurement process is profoundly inequitable – less than five percent of the City’s discretionary contracts have gone to women and minority-owned businesses. Andrea has joined advocates to push for clear goals and accountability to increase City contracts going to women and minority-owned businesses, and has set her own targets of 7%, 14% and 20% of City contracts to go to minority-owned businesses over the next three years. As Mayor, Andrea will make this a reality, by streamlining and simplifying procurement to make it easier for a wider array of suppliers to submit bids, increasing the capacity of the City personnel to help small businesses navigate the process, and including procurement personnel in overall efforts to diversify the City’s suppliers.
- Actively deploy anti-racism training and tools. As Mayor, Andrea will require yearly anti-racism training for all city departments, Commissions, and Boards. She will also deploy anti-racism tools for all city departments and Commissions to use in their day-to-day work and explore how a truth and reconciliation process for Boston could be implemented. To measure the effectiveness of these trainings and tools, Andrea will create a public dashboard and establish a regular external assessment to measure plans and progress to hold the administration accountable. She will also ensure that these valuable tools are quickly deployed for all employees.
Use Data and Technology To Enhance City Services and Engagement
Our government needs to be innovative and effective to meet the many needs that Bostonians are facing. Andrea will ensure that city leaders leverage data for decision-making and promote innovation across agencies to ensure that the city has the latest policies and technology to best achieve their mission.
- Prioritize Bostonians in delivery of city services. No matter how innovative and effective Boston’s services are, they must be accessible for all Bostonians to be successful. As Mayor, Andrea will make sure that city services are accessible to everyone by listening to all Bostonians, including our seniors and Bostonians with disabilities.
- Lead with a data-driven, people-first approach. Andrea will make decisions that not only are best for Boston’s bottom line, but also prioritize other factors for every major decision including the impact on equity, essential services, and the environment. That is why she will require all agency leaders to publish not only the financial impact of major decisions, but also the environmental and equitable impact.
- Embrace cutting-edge technology to improve delivery of city services. Boston is home to some of the best minds in tech. Andrea will work with these companies and other innovators to leverage best practices to improve city services. She will also look to peer cities and learn from their best practices. Technology can improve the lives of every Bostonian.
- Incorporate the learnings of virtual civic engagement and public participation during COVID. The pandemic changed how Bostonians interact with their government. Andrea will make sure that the city permanently changes to support more accessible and inclusive online civil participation. That includes public participation mechanisms for city departments – whether in person, remote, or hybrid – that promote the greatest levels of public participation and inclusivity.
- Build a public-first data portal. Boston needs to provide data in a format that is useful for Bostonians. That is why Andrea will improve AnalyzeBoston to make it easier to navigate. She will direct city officials to build an interface so that people can search their street and learn the essential information they need. She also will work with community and local leaders to determine what information is missing that should be provided.