City Councilor Bill Linehan of South Boston was elected earlier this month by a vote of 8-5 to be the council president despite an effort from several groups, including the JP Progressives, to block him from taking the reins.
According to Linehan’s office, Councilors Mark Ciommo, Timothy McCarthy, Frank Baker, Sal LaMattina, Michael Flaherty and Michelle Wu voted in favor of Linehan. Linehan voted for himself. Councilors Josh Zakim, Chares Yancey, Tito Jackson and Matt O’Malley, who lives in and represents Jamaica Plain, voted for Ayanna Pressley. Pressley voted for herself.
The president leads meetings and appoints committees. The president also becomes the City’s top boss under certain circumstances, such as when the mayor is out of state or incapacitated.
The JP Progressives sent out a message last month, which was signed by the group co-chairs Annie Rousseau and Reuben Kantor, to members asking them to contact city councilors and tell them not to vote Linehan as president. The message criticized Linehan for being the council’s most conservative member and for his stance on several issues, including him comparing gay and lesbian groups to the Ku Klux Klan marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston.
The message specifically called out At-Large City Councilors Michelle Wu, Steve Murphy and Michael Flaherty. It said Wu won the JP vote because she had told voters she is a progressive.
“Like many of you, we were persuaded that Michelle Wu in particular was someone who was going to stand up for our values,” the message stated. “Now she tells people she wants to be a ‘bridge between progressives and nonprogressives.’ Voting for people who don’t share your values is no form of leadership, and is not building bridges. It is caving in.”