BPDA board approves Jemison as agency’s new director

Arthur Jemison will take the helm at the Boston Planning and Development Agency next Monday after the agency’s board of directors voted him into the post during its May meeting last week.

Jemison – a former US Department of Housing and Urban Development official whose decades in private and public housing work included stretches in Boston, Detroit, and Washington DC — is also Boston’s first-ever Chief of Planning.

Mayor Michelle Wu selected Jemison to oversee comprehensive planning for the city and a structural reimagining of its development agency, the BPDA.

He said he is hoping to work with Bostonians “to shape an agency that’s building trust through dialogue and helps create a better and brighter future for everyone.”

According to the terms of Jemison’s dual appointment, he will receive his $179,000 annual salary and benefits only through the City of Boston as planning chief, not through the BPDA as director.

Brian Golden, the longest-serving chief of the BPDA (formerly known as the Boston Redevelopment Authority) left the agency last month. Under the terms of a separation agreement first reported by CommonWealth Magazine, Golden voluntarily resigned and received $200,000 and acknowledgment of “commendable service.”

BPDA board chair Priscilla Rojas congratulated Jemison on the post and welcomed him back to Boston. She applauded his “commitment to your craft in building the expertise needed to navigate the complex and multifaceted challenges that come with creating private-public partnerships to build an equitable place to live, work and connect.”

In remarks following the board approval, Jemison thanked his new colleagues for their “forbearance” during the somewhat “unusual” hiring and appointment process.

“The board and the team at the BPDA have done so much over the past several years to improve the way that planning and development is done in the city,” Jemison said. “And you’ve given me a great platform to build from. I can’t wait to work together with you.”

Jemison said he has spent the past few weeks doing listening tours with BPDA staff and other stakeholders. When Wu selected him, Jemsion said, she “was clear she wanted to elevate planning and integrate it with other city departments.”

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