BOSTON – During his term in leadership at the Council over the last twenty months, Boston City Council President Ed Flynn has organized a series of training sessions with colleagues and staff aimed at encouraging civility and professionalism, as well as abiding by state ethics laws and other regulations.
Most recently, Council President Flynn hosted a Massachusetts State Ethics Training for over two hours on Tuesday, August 8th which covered conflict of interest law, gift restrictions, code of conduct and related ethics issues. On Thursday, August 10th, Council President Flynn held a three-hour Working Session regarding an Anti-Bullying Policy for City Councilors, Council staff, and Council Central Staff that he previously introduced in May. The Council has also held seven trainings related to the Open Meeting Law and the Public Records Law, along with annual compliance and Massachusetts Commision Against Discrimination (MCAD) training. He has held multiple working sessions with the City Clerk and colleagues to review the Boston City Council Rules adopted by the body.
In addition, Council President Flynn is working closely with Boston City Council Central Staff on researching a Code of Ethics policy to be introduced later this year, along with recommendations around best practices on time off for Council staff. Council President Flynn continues to also engage in discussions with the State Legislative Leaders Foundation on potentially hosting a Civility Training later this year.
Moreover, Council President Flynn has focused on several administrative issues that have arisen this term, including implementation of an updated Executive Garage policy. During these challenging times for the management of meetings in municipal government, with anti-vaccine and other protestors, Council President Flynn has also worked in conjunction with City of Boston Property Management on upgraded security infrastructure at the Council, such as installation of panic buttons, putting a stanchion at reception, and requiring key card access at the Piemonte offices side.
Council President Flynn assumed leadership of the body during a particularly difficult time in our city and country; navigating the Omicron variant and subsequent transition back to in-person work and Council meetings, a new budget process, a contentious redistricting process that was ultimately sent back by a federal judge, as well as a number of ethical and legal lapses from several Council colleagues. Council President Flynn has spoken at length on several occasions, on both the Council floor as well as via memos to colleagues, on the critical need for civility, professionalism and decorum, and to be available in City Hall to address quality of life and constituent service issues from neighbors.
“My goal as Council President, and for the remainder of my term, will be to continue to work on ensuring that the City Council is focused on conducting the people’s business, and that we have a professional working environment for all,” said Council President Flynn. “While working closely with our dedicated Central Staff, I continue to focus on implementing policies to address the need for civility and respect, and to promote a culture that is inclusive and attracts talent to public service at City Hall, where everyone feels welcome in the workplace without fear of any bullying or harassment.
For more information, please contact Council President Flynn’s office at 617-635-3203 and [email protected].
President Flynn List of Actions:
● Order for a hearing to review City Council rules
○ 9/14/22 – First filed
○ 9/29/22 & 11/4/22 – Working sessions held
○ 2/1/23 – Refiled
● Order implementing an Anti-Bullying Policy for the Boston City Council
○ 5/17/23 – Filed
○ 8/10/23 – Working session
○ 9/08/23 – Working session (tentatively scheduled)
● Code of Ethics – in progress
○ 7/25/23 – Reached out to National League of Cities for information
● MA State Ethics Training
○ 8/8/23 – In person training
● Executive Garage parking policy update
○ 7/14/23 – Sent email to all Councilors
○ 7/21/23 – Applications due
○ 7/24/23 – Enforcement
● Civility training – in progress
○ 7/26/23 – Reached out to State Legislative Leaders Foundation
● Open Meeting Law trainings
○ 1/21/22 – Public Records Training
○ 1/20/23 – Public Records Training
○ 4/25/23 – Public Records and OML Training
● MCAD training
○ July 2022
○ February 2023
● Increased office budgets
○ During my time as Council President, I have tried my best to right-size our staff salaries. Please note that in FY22, each Council office budget was $257,375, then the budget for each office was raised to $315,000 in FY23, and now it is raised again to $341,000. This represents a $57,625, or 32% increase in budget allocation for each Councilor’s office from FY22 to FY24.
● Vacation time, sick time, personal time: best practices – in progress
● Security Infrastructure: working with Property Management to add at City
Council, including installation of panic buttons, putting stanchion at reception,
working on requiring key card access at Piemonte side
● Reassignment of Committees for Redistricting and Government Operations
○ 8/29/22 – Reassigning Redistricting and Government Operations
○ 11/2/22 – Restoring Clr Arroyo back as Government Operations Chair
● Issued statement re: Councilors Lara and Arroyo
○ 7/5/23 – Posted
● Statement re Clr TFA
○ 7/25/23 – Sent to media
● Emailed Memos to City Councilors
○ 1/3/22 – Boston City Council Temporary Remote Work Policy (beginning
tomorrow, Tuesday, January 4th. I respectfully ask that each City Council office
make arrangements for working remotely until Tuesday, January 18th, 2022, at
which time we will re-evaluate this policy)
○ 1/14/22 – Extending City Council COVID-19 Remote Work Policy (extending
until Monday, January 31st)
○ 1/28/22 – Extending City Council COVID-19 Remote Work Policy Until Feb 14th
○ 3/25/22 – Policy re: Hearings and Working Sessions (clarification on what can be
held virtually and in person, etc)
○ 9/20/22 – Reporting Threatening and Offensive Messages
○ 1/12/23 – Council Offsite Hearings Policy
○ 2/10/23 – Open for business email (keep doors open)
○ 2/10/23 – Council Policy on Committee Holds
○ 4/26/23 – Professionalism and Decorum in the City Council
● Managing City Council meetings with Anti-Vax and other protesters in audience
Challenges from COVID-19 Pandemic
● When I took on the role of Council President in January of 2022, we were still coming
out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there were challenges presented by the surges
caused by the Omicron variant.
● With guidance from public health officials and in consultation with Central Staff, I started
a temporary remote work policy on January 4th, 2022, then extended our temporary
remote work policy from January 14th to January 31st, then again to February 14th,
● This was done to prevent the spread of the virus, ensure that we can all work in a safe
environment, and do our part to not overwhelm our healthcare workers and medical
system. Council meetings and trainings for new Councilors and staff were conducted
virtually during that period.
Improving Working Environment in the City Council and Decorum
● As City Council President, I have tried my best to improve the working environment in
the City Council, and ensure that our staff are protected from harassment and bullying, as
well as letting offices know that staff are entitled to vacation and time off.
● Therefore, I have proposed an anti-bullying policy for the City Council, where
Councilors and employees would need to sign and acknowledge this policy. Before I was
Council President, City Councilors, employees, volunteers, and interns needed to sign a
policy acknowledgement of the “Boston City Council Policy on Discrimination, Sexual
& Other Forms of Harassment and Retaliation”, but there was no City Council policy on
● Having a policy on workplace bullying will clearly communicate to all City Council
employees that bullying is not tolerated, as well as set expectations of workplace conduct,
and outline complaint mechanisms if there is an instance of bullying.
● I have emphasized the importance of professionalism and decorum in the City Council. I
outlined my expectations to my colleagues at the first Council meeting of 2023 and
subsequently sent a memo to my colleagues in April of 2023.
● We also have annual trainings on preventing sexual harassment and discrimination, which
all Councilors and staff need to attend.
● I’m also working with Central Staff to create a best practice guide for each City Council
office that would outline sample employment contracts, time off and vacation time for
staff, and other workplace standards to protect our staff’s rights and work/life balance.
● I have also asked my colleagues to report any threatening or offensive messages to me so
that I can notify public safety officials, sending out a memo to my colleagues in
September of 2022. I have also forwarded threatening messages that my colleagues
receive to public safety officials and asked them to investigate.
● There were several serious ethical and legal lapses from some Councilors, which brought
negative attention to the City Council and distracted us from serving our constituents. I
strongly believe that elected officials should be held to the highest ethical standards, and
that was why I did the reassignment of committees with Councilor Arroyo.
● I have also issued statements expressing my disapproval and alarm at the ethics violations
by Councilor Arroyo, as well as the incident with Councilor Lara driving with a revoked
license in an unregistered car, I have also expressed my concerns with Councilor
Fernandes-Anderson’s ethics violation.
● I have subsequently worked with Property Management to implement a parking policy
for the Executive Garage, so that all Councilors and staff using the Executive Garage
would need to submit documentation of their license and registration in order to park.
● We have also scheduled an in person ethics training in addition to the online training that
everyone has to take annually. I’m also looking into civility training for my colleagues
and I. We have also held several Open Meeting Law trainings for Councilors and staff, so
that everyone will understand Open Meeting Law and not be at risk of violation.
● One of the most critical work that I do as City Council President is to ensure the smooth
functions of the City Council. That means I decide City Council office budgets, hearing
policies, and other administrative functions. I work closely with Council Central Staff in
making these decisions, and always focus on staff wellbeing alongside with the necessary
functions of the City Council.
● During my time as Council President, I have tried my best to right size our staff salaries.
Please note that in FY22, each Council office budget was $257,375, then the budget for
each office was raised to $315,000 in FY23, and now it is raised again to $341,000. This
represents a $57,625, or 32% increase in budget allocation for each Councilor’s office
from FY22 to FY24. These represent some of the largest increases in recent years.
● I have listened to Central Staff feedback and implemented policies and best practices on
scheduling hearings and working sessions, so that offices can proceed to schedule
hearings in an organized manner, and staff will not be overworked.