Halbert: Council president contest should be in the open

The race for the City Council’s presidency has typically played out behind closed doors and on councillors’ cell phones. Councillors vote on who gets the job in January, when the 13-member body will have five new members.

But one former at-large candidate, David Halbert, says it should be a more public process, citing the importance of the position. District 7 Councillor Kim Janey became acting mayor earlier this year because she held the presidency when Marty Walsh left for the Biden administration in late March. Janey, who ran for mayor instead of reelection to her district seat, returns to the City Council presidency until the end of the year, now that Michelle Wu has assumed the executive office.

The presidency comes with a gavel, a metaphorical megaphone, funds for a larger staff and a larger office. Three people are said to be vying for the job: Councillors Kenzie Bok, Ricardo Arroyo and Ed Flynn.

Halbert, a Dorchester resident who served as an aide inside City Hall and up at the State House, ran for one of the four at-large slots this year and fell short, landing in fifth place, behind Murphy. He took to Twitter on Monday to push for a more public race for the job.

“I would love if those seeking the post put out their vision for the office, council, (and) Boston now, so residents can learn and contact their District & At-Large Councilors about their votes next year,” he wrote.

The next City Council president will be working closely with Wu, who has experience in that job. She was elected by her colleagues to the post in January 2016, becoming the first woman of color to serve as president. She announced she had the votes in days after she was reelected to a second term in 2015.

This time, the jockeying is likely taking a little longer, in part due to five new members (Ruthzee Louijeune, Erin Murphy, Kendra Hicks, Brian Worrell and Tania Anderson).

Whoever wins the presidency needs seven votes, and it could take more than one round to determine who is the first to get to 7 votes.

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