Leaving her job as director of media and public relations at the Department of Neighborhood Development, Lisa Pollack has been appointed as Chief Communications Officer for the City of Boston, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced Friday.
In her new position, Pollack will assist the mayor with communication crises and work to unify communication across the City’s departments, a Friday press release said.
“Absolutely thrilled to be appointed CCO for the City of Boston,” Pollack said in a tweet Thursday. “Many, many thanks to @marty_walsh for his confidence in me.”
Sheila Dillon, the director of the Department of Neighborhood Development, has worked closely with Pollack and said she played an important role in the department.
“Lisa was an intricate part of our team at the Department of Neighborhood Development,” she said. “She was a terrific manager and helped coordinate our web presence, social media, press and external documents.”
Dillon said that Pollack’s genuine work ethic will make her a valuable addition to the city’s communication team.
“She cares deeply about this city and communicating effectively with its citizens,” she said. “While her leaving DND was a loss for our department, she will be an asset to Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston.”
Pollack, a 1994 graduate of Brandeis University, got her first post-graduate job in the Office of former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino as his staff photographer and later, his senior media liaison. In 2004, she began working at Denterlein, a communications firm, before beginning her work at the Department of Neighborhood Development, the release said.
Pollack will be holding the title previously held by Dot Joyce under Menino, and she will be working alongside Walsh’s press secretary, Kate Norton, and press assistant, Emilee Ellison.
“Lisa brings a unique blend of skills and a wealth of experience in both the private and public sectors,” Walsh said in the release. “She loves the City of Boston, knows the inner workings of city government, and she’ll play a huge role in bringing City communications to the next level.”
Stephen Quigley, professor of public relations at Boston University, said that Pollack will play a valuable role as the Chief Communications Officer of the city.
“She becomes the strategist and the tactician on the mayor and the city’s behalf,” he said. “She plays that critical role between city government and the citizens to make sure there’s an open flow of information.”
Pollack will also serve as the voice of the people, ensuring that Boston residents are aware of what their elected leaders are doing, Quigley said.
“We always think of communicators as strictly outbound messengers, people who stand at a press conference and spew out words, but one of the key roles they play is someone who brings insights and wisdom and complaints back to the government,” he said. “She becomes a really important voice of the citizens to the mayor.”
Several residents said they are excited to hear about Pollack’s goals for unifying the city’s department through communication.
Joshua Needham, 24, of Mission Hill, had not known there was a chief communications officer in the past and plans to contact Pollack with any questions he has in the future.
“It’s one number to reach for one problem that you’re having,” he said. “Before, for a certain situation, I was calling the wrong department the whole time, and I had to call the wrong department to find out that I had to call the right department. Here, you can just call one place and get the right answer right away.”
Donald Graham, 30, of Brighton, said Pollack’s position creates a sense of transparency between the people and the government.
“It seems like a good idea to have a point person like that, one person to reach out to,” he said. “It makes the government more accessible to have it be someone’s job to just be that communications person.”
Gina Novelli, 60, of Fenway, said Pollack will hopefully serve as a direct connection between Mayor Walsh and the citizens of the city.
“We need to have a direct mode of communication,” she said. “There’s too many layers. That’s what’s happening in politics, there are just too many layers to get through to get to the correct answer. If one person specifically does that throughout the day, they become an expert in communications and the subject they’re dealing with. That’s what you need, someone who always knows what’s going on.”