Political Notes: Bike czar returns to JP, job

Nicole Freedman was recently tabbed by Mayor Thomas Menino to once again be the director of the Boston Bikes program, according to a press release.

Freedman has also moved back to Jamaica Plain, the Gazette has confirmed.

Freedman, who is a former Olympic cyclist, was the director of the program when it launched in 2007 and held that role before leaving last year for a short stint in Maine at another cyclist job. Kris Carter, who led the program in Freedman’s absence, will return to his previous role as an advisor to the mayor.

“I’m so excited to be back in Boston, and grateful for the vision of the mayor, and the work of Kris Carter and the team of people who have continued to lead Boston Bikes on a successful path,” said Freedman, whose first day back was Jan. 2, according to the press release.

Under Freedman’s previous leadership, Boston rose from one of the worst-ranked cycling cities to a nationally-recognized biking city, receiving an award from the League of American Bicyclists. She oversaw the launch of the Hubway bike-share system and the installation of 50 miles of bike lanes and 850 bicycle racks.

John Ruch contributed to this article.

State Legislature approves Chang-Díaz’s job bill

As the clock was set to expire for its 2011-2012 session, the state Legislature passed a modified version of the Equitable Jobs Access Bill introduced by local state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, according to a press release.

The bill (S. 2386) would help ensure that public projects funded by taxpayer dollars are creating local jobs and promoting workforce diversity. It now awaits Gov. Deval Patrick’s signature.

The initial bill was passed by the Senate over the summer, but the House did not approve it until Dec. 28. The Senate voted final passage of the bill on New Year’s Eve in the last two hours of the 2011-2012 session.

“This bill is a success for accountability, transparency and opportunity in communities hardest hit by the recession,” said Chang-Díaz. “I’m extremely grateful to Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo for making this issue a priority before the clock ran out on the 2011-2012 session.”

The bill creates economic incentives to increase workforce diversity while increasing the accountability and transparency within the public contracting system. One of the bill’s provisions requires the state to develop a website and post quarterly performance numbers so the public can judge contractor’s performance on hiring diversity and local job creation in real time.

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