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MassTLC, Mayor, Thomas Menino

Saying Goodbye to the People’s Mayor

MassTLC
and the entire technology community are deeply saddened by the passing of
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. A true urban mechanic and people’s mayor, he had
a profound impact on the destiny of the city he loved over the course of his
20-years in office. In 2013, MassTLC recognized the Mayor’s contributions in
front of 700+ tech and innovation leaders at a gala celebration with the
following remarks which still ring true today:
“Perhaps the Mayor’s most visible legacy to
the growth of the tech sector is the revitalization of the South Boston
Waterfront.  Through the Innovation District initiative, the Mayor has
transformed 1,000 acres of the South Boston waterfront into an urban
environment that fosters innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship.
In the three years since the initiative
began, the former industrial enclave is bursting with development.  It is
attracting a host of leaders in the tech space, including Enernoc, Apperian,
LogMeIn and a many others.  This growth is spread across a diverse range
of companies in different sectors and at different scales.
It has added over 4,000 jobs in over 200 new
companies, with technology companies contributing 30% of new job growth. 
Greentech + life sciences have contributed 16% of new jobs in these sectors.
Many more companies have announced plans to
join the Innovation District community, and are expected to add another 2500+
jobs to the neighborhood.
The Mayor’s impact on the tech sector goes
well beyond the Innovation District.  Through the Office of New Urban
Mechanics, the Mayor and his team have been leaders in developing innovative
and customizable public services – created in partnership with citizens using
new information technologies and smartphone apps.  The Office of New Urban
Mechanics is a unique Boston IT agency seeking inventive ideas from citizens
and developing them through government/community partnerships.
A recent report by Harvard’s Berkman Center
for Internet and Society recognizes that “the City of Boston’s strategy to put
citizen engagement and participation at the center of its efforts, has drawn
attention to the potential power of collaboration and technology to transform
citizens’ connections to their government and to each other.”
That strategy extends across Boston’s
government functions. Public-works employees have piloted a new project called
City Worker, to help municipal staff provide quick, on-demand services. Boston
Public Schools just rolled out a new app to track the location of your child’s
school bus. The city has led the nation on interesting tech partnerships – an
example being the first city to engage with Code for America (CfA).  A
nonprofit, CfA has been called the ‘Peace Corps for Geeks’ and is working to
change the way cities work through technology and public service.
The City of Boston’s open government strategy
has significantly enhanced civic engagement, improved policy, and improved the
City’s ability to manage its operations.
The City’s Data Portal has become a de facto
place for Boston’s municipal data.  The portal offers Boston residents
better access to the performance, processes and people of City government than
ever before.  The open data has helped support cutting edge research on the
best ways to tackle urban problems.
Because of his leadership, the City of Boston
has been at the forefront of municipal innovation nationwide.” 
It
is with sadness and gratitude for your years of dedication that we say goodbye,
Mayor Menino.

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