After St. Guillen reverses course, Murphy to take City Council at-large seat a month early

Councillor-elect Erin Murphy, right, photographed herself with fellow future city councillors Ruthzee Louijeune and Brian Worrell on Tuesday during Mayor Michelle Wu's swearing-in ceremony. Photo courtesy Erin Murphy

Alejandra St. Guillen has decided against stepping in to fill the City Council at-large seat left vacant by Mayor Michelle Wu.

St. Guillen, who serves on the city’s cannabis oversight board and had said she was interested in filling the vacancy for the remainder of the year, said on Twitter the reversal came after reflections and “discussions with my family.”

St. Guillen, a West Roxbury resident, was in line for filling the vacant seat because she came in behind Julia Mejia by one vote in 2019. Under the city charter, when there is a vacant at-large seat on the council, the runner-up in the last election gets first crack at filling the seat. The vacancy was created on Nov. 16, after Wu took the mayoral oath of office.

In this case, the person would be seated for the remaining City Council meetings, before a new Council is seated in January.

St. Guillen said she had planned on starting in the new role mid-November, with three meetings left in the year. But at the City Council meeting last week, a unanimous vote could not be obtained to take up the matter of her swearing-in.

Since unanimous consent didn’t occur, “I believe it is just too brief a tenure, and with my other professional and personal obligations, the timing is not right,” St. Guillen said in her statement.

That means Dorchester’s Erin Murphy, who came in behind St. Guillen in 2019, is now able to take the job. Murphy ran at-large for a second time this year, and won one of the four at-large slots, so she takes office in January anyway. St. Guillen’s decision frees Murphy up to start the job early.
Murphy’s first meeting could be Dec. 1. (The City Council does not meet during the Thanksgiving holiday.)

“I’m excited to get to work sooner and start making those relationships and connections, and settling in,” Murphy told the Reporter. “I’m definitely looking forward to that.”

Getting an early start to the job allows for her to “take it all in, listen and really get a feel about how it’s going to move forward,” she said.
Murphy has been in meetings with councillors and embarked on a “thank you” tour immediately after her victory on Nov. 2. She attended Wu’s swearing-in ceremony inside the City Council chambers.

Murphy will be one of five new councillors in January: Ruthzee Louijeune, an attorney, takes the other at-large seat, joining incumbents Mejia and Michael Flaherty. Tania Anderson won the District 7 race to replace Kim Janey, who served as acting mayor and opted to run for a full mayoral term instead of another term on the City Council, and while Brian Worrell won the race to replace District 4’s Andrea Campbell, who ran for mayor earlier this year, and Kendra Hicks takes the District 6 seat held by Matt O’Malley, who did not run for reelection.