With less than 100 days of his term remaining, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and his administration launched a daily blog on Saturday, titled NextBoston, in hopes of facilitating a smooth transition for the following mayor.
The blog features posts including a finance calendar, information on the importance of recycling contracts and a video explaining what the mayor’s hotline is and its effectiveness in order to give tips to the new mayor and to give insight into the city’s workings for residents.
“My team is working hard to try and make this transition as smooth as possible,” Menino said in the introduction video. “This site is part of that work. Our hope is that our city, the best city in the world, doesn’t miss a step. As we begin our last 100 days, we hope the contents of this site will aid the next team in a successful first 100 days.”
John Guilfoil, a spokesman for the mayor’s office, said in the past, a mayoral team would provide the successor with a binder to inform the new mayor of steps in transition process.
“We’re going to do the book too … but the blog has a lot of things going for it,” he said. “It’s transparent … it lets people in the city and around the country see how government works in the city and how transition works in the city.”
Guilfoil said Menino, with today’s use of technology in mind, decided to create the blog because it allows everyone to see how the city’s government works. “The mayor is very mindful of technology, and … he wants to make sure the city doesn’t miss a step with the new mayor coming in,” he said. “So as we come to the last 100 days, we just want to make sure we have some content on our site that will help the next team … have a successful first 100 days in office for them.”
Deborah Schildkraut, a political science professor at Tufts University, said she was skeptical a blog could really make a difference in terms of the transition.
“Most individual voters will have no idea that it’s there and won’t read it, and that people who are most likely to read it are people who are maybe anxious about the political transition,” she said. “Maybe people who had relations with him for organizations or … people who … know about their particular policy area.”
However, Schildkraut said including everyday residents in the process is a positive step.
“To the extent that it does provide an opportunity for people who are normally left out of this process to be involved if they want to be … that’s a benefit of opening up the process,” she said.
Some residents said they were interested to see how Menino and the new mayor use the blog to inform the public.
“It’s cool because it gives transparency to why he did certain things,” said Giuliana Funkhouser, 31, resident of Needham. “It’s an interesting way to wrap up any kind of tenure. If he wants it to be relevant to as many people as possible in this town, and we’re a pretty tech-savvy town, I think it seems like a pretty good medium.”
Amanda Houser, 22, resident of Brighton, said the blog is a more modern approach to transitioning.
“It’s a good idea, especially for someone else that’s coming in, why not have that information,” she said. “I think a blog is more with-the-times now than a book. Everyone has access to it, so it’s a good idea.”