Wu names transition committee, first cabinet positions ahead of swearing in

Mayor Michelle Wu (Photo by Mild Laohapoonrungsee/BU News Service)

By Zoe Allen
Boston University News Service

BOSTON — Boston City Councilor and Mayor-elect Michelle Wu will be sworn in as the city’s next mayor on Tuesday in a history-making ceremony that will take place months earlier than usual.

Mayors have historically taken office in January, giving the elected official months to transition into the role. But due to the vacancy left by the appointment of former Mayor Marty Walsh as U.S. Secretary of Labor and the preliminary election loss of Acting Mayor Kim Janey, Wu has been given two weeks since her election on Nov. 2.

“This will be a special moment in a special place to mark our quick start,” tweeted Wu. She also announced that she plans for a full inauguration alongside her City Council colleagues in January.  

The mayor-elect has announced her transition committee ahead of her first day in office on Nov. 17. 

Acting Mayor Kim Janey — who delivered her official farewell address on Wednesday — will serve as the honorary chair of the transition. 

Transition co-chairs include former state secretary of administration and finance and former gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez, as well as former state representative Charlotte Golar Richie. 

Richie additionally worked for former Mayor Thomas M. Menino and ran her own mayoral campaign in 2013. Noemi “Mimi” Ramos, a community activist and the executive director of New England United 4 Justice, was also named co-chair. 

In addition to the three co-chair positions, Wu’s team announced a group of transition advisers with a variety of “lived experiences, expertise, and perspectives to help advance key priorities during the condensed transition period.”


Wu additionally announced her first Cabinet appointments Wednesday following a meeting with housing and healthcare providers at Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program.

The three appointments comprise a core team “to lead the city’s response to urgent public health and housing challenges, including the ongoing public health emergency related to substance use disorder, homelessness, and mental illness, centered around the area known as ‘Mass and Cass.’”

Wu intends to appoint Dr. Monica Bharel, former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, as a new Cabinet-level senior adviser “to take charge of the city’s efforts over the next six months to address the intersecting crises of substance use disorder, mental health, public safety, and homelessness.”

She also announced that she intends to elevate Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, who currently serves as the executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, to her Cabinet to “expand her role in leading the city’s broader public health efforts, including response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Additionally, Wu said that she intends to reappoint Sheila A. Dillon, the city’s current ​​chief of housing and director of the Department of Neighborhood Development. 

“The humanitarian crisis at Mass and Cass demands urgent, bold solutions that create genuine pathways to recovery and stability for our most vulnerable residents –– and we need the right team to get it done,” Wu said. “Dr. Bharel, Dr. Ojikutu, and Chief Dillon have dedicated their careers to serving the public and each brings a track record of results. This is the team that we need for Boston as we prioritize public health and housing and center the safety and dignity of all those struggling with substance use disorder, mental health, and housing instability.”

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