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Wu makes diverse cabinet appointments

Most are re-appointments, re-shuffling of existing staff

Anna Lamb

Mayor Michelle Wu announced several cabinet re-appointments last week which she says are “shaping her new administration with proven leaders who are focused on equity, civic engagement and embracing Boston’s possibility.”

Those leaders include Shumeane Benford who will continue as chief of Emergency Management (OEM), Kara Elliott-Ortega as chief of Arts & Culture, Dion Irish as chief of Operations, Justin Sterritt as chief of Administration & Finance and Rev. Mariama White-Hammond as chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space.

Additionally, Celina Barrios-Millner, previously chief of Equity & Inclusion, will join the Mayor’s Office as senior advisor to the Mayor.

Barrios-Millner, a Venezulean immigrant who worked previously in the city’s Office of Economic Development and helped to create the city’s Immigrant Advancement Agenda during the Walsh administration and the city’s first Supplier Diversity Program under acting Mayor Kim Janey said she is “honored by the opportunity to work closely with Mayor Wu and her administration to serve the people of Boston.”

Barrios-Millner added, “I am looking forward to working with such a talented and visionary team to ensure we are responsive to the real challenges we face day to day while building systems that work for all Bostonians.”

And while some of Wu’s appointees, such as Benford, a veteran cop whose been leading OEM since 2018 and Elliot-Ortega whose been in her role since 2015, have been in their positions for several years, many are newer roll-overs from the Janey administration. White-Hammond was appointed by the acting mayor back in April. Irish and Sterritt ascended to their positions in March.

Sterlitt called his re-appointment “the honor of a lifetime” and said he’s thrilled to continue on in this role under Mayor Wu’s administration.

Irish also echoed this sentiment in a statement saying, “I’m both honored and excited to be part of Mayor Wu’s historic administration.”

Having appointed mostly people of color in this latest cohort of cabinet members, eyes will continue to be on the mayor’s picks after she made the commitment upon election to assemble a diverse cabinet and have department heads who are “majority people of color.” Her earlier appointments have included former state Department of Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, who is South Asian, to manage the city’s response to the crisis at Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, head of the Boston Public Health Commission, Bisola Ojikutu who is Black, to lead in a cabinet level role, and the reappointment of Sheila Dillon, who is white, as chief of housing.

“I’m grateful for the continued leadership and service of these dedicated city officials,” the mayor said in a statement. “In this critical moment, their knowledge and passion for connecting our communities will guide our actions to make Boston a city for everyone.

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