Review of Tom Menino's Mayor for a New America

Mayor for a New AmericaMayor for a New America by Thomas Menino
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A good book that is surprisingly candid in many areas. Tom Menino was a true Mayor, and has left us a book with interesting stories, and some sound advice for those looking to become a Mayor, or for those who are already serving. I enjoyed very much his candor, including his thoughts on the real way he exercised political control, his answer to those who said he was a micro-manager, and the standards he expected from those that worked for him. His explanation of how he would (and did) have no qualms about cashiering a BRA Director who actually believed that the position was “independent” of the Mayor was priceless. His thoughts on incrementalism, and that change cannot get too far out in front of your constituency, were valuable as well. The Mayor was not afraid to put some wood on those that he felt deserved it, including John Kerry, who he shredded.

Mayor Menino served for so long because of his fundamental understanding of what it is that the citizens of Boston are looking for from local government. His critics claimed he had a “lack of vision”, but I submit that he knew what kind of change was truly possible, and what the people of Boston really thought was important. Unlike those broad brush “visionaries” who could not manage a three car parade Tom Menino kept Boston financially sound, and grew it to be a world class City. Like all of us he was not perfect, but on balance I think history will show him to have been a remarkable leader, and a Mayor for a New America.

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