Michelle Wu addresses vacant positions, MBTA in first week as mayor

Michelle Wu’s full inauguration is scheduled for January 2022. (Photo by Mohan Ge/BU News Service)

By Dan Treacy
Boston University News Service

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s first complete week in office included moves to fill vacant positions and declaring three MBTA bus lines would be free going forward.

Wu was sworn in as Boston’s first Asian American mayor on Tuesday in the Boston City Council Chamber. 

On her first full day in office, Wu filed an appropriations order to secure $8 million in federal relief funds to make three MBTA bus lines free for the next two years. The 28 bus line has been free since a pilot program was launched in August. The 23 and 29 bus lines would join the 28 line and become free to riders under Wu’s announced plan. 

The proposal has yet to be approved by the City Council. 

Wu also commuted to Boston City Hall via the orange line on Wednesday, telling reporters she took the T because it’s the quickest way for her to get to work during rush hour. Wu said she plans to ride the MBTA regularly “to understand how the T itself is working.”

Wu made the MBTA a primary focus ahead of the election, and her campaign promise for a “free fare transit system” captured attention, especially after it was met with ambivalence by Gov. Charlie Baker.

Tackling another issue that was a flashpoint of the mayoral campaign, Wu announced on Wednesday that the city will “pause” the removals of Mass. and Cass homeless encampments.

A Suffolk County judge ruled later Wednesday against an ACLU lawsuit to stop the removals, but Wu said earlier in the day that such a ruling would “not necessarily” prompt the resumption of removals.

Wu also moved to fill key positions in her administration in her opening days as mayor.

On Thursday, Wu announced two appointments to Boston’s Law Department, naming Adam Cederbaum as corporation counsel and Henry C. Luthin as senior counsel, according to a release sent out by her office. Wu called Cederbaum a “longtime friend and colleague, brilliant attorney, and fierce advocate for the people of Boston,” in the release. 

Wu also appointed Segun Idowu as the city’s next chief of economic development. Idowu currently serves as president and CEO of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts and is set to formally join the administration on Jan. 3. 

On Thursday, Wu responded to news that the City Council voted to divest from fossil fuel investments — a proposal made by Wu back in March when she was a member of the city council — with a tweet that said, “Getting my pen ready!”

Wu previously proposed a resolution in March to divest from fossil fuels along with co-councilor Matt O’Malley.

On Friday, Wu addressed the acquittal of Kenosha, Wisconsin shooter Kyle Rittenhouse. 

Wu tweeted, “Our country aches for accountability. My heart is with those traumatized by Kenosha & the failures of our justice system.” 

While the MBTA and Mass. and Cass were both among the most discussed issues leading up to the election, Wu made several major policy proposals, including plans to explore reparations for the Black community during her tenure. 

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