The new mayor: JFK Judith Flanagan Kennedy

Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy starts off her mayoralty during a difficult economic time when nearly everything about city government and how we are going to pay for it rests in the balance.

Her firm commitment to increased police protection is a favored bit of public policy desired by nearly everyone who lives here and who calls this place their home. Paying for it is another matter.

Reigning in the most costly of city expenses, including city paid municipal employee health insurance, is but one of the major year to year drains on the city budget that will have to be addressed, sooner rather than later.

Her advocacy for the Lynnway development project must match that of her predecessor or the development will never come to pass.

Remaking or simply living with the city’s aging and inefficient school infrastructure is another place where her energy and power must be felt – and as a member of the school committee – we know she will make her presence heard and that out of that will come public policy with her imprimatur all over it.

Bringing into city hall’s vortex the poor, the people of color and ethnicity and others who have felt disenfranchised while living here, is also part of the new mayor’s mission – and we compliment her for it.

In sum, she faces enormous fiscal challenges at a time when the local economy is not creating more jobs and when business is retracting rather than expanding.

She will be hard pressed to hold the lid on residential housing taxes – and it will be the same for industrial and commercial taxes.

Judith Flanagan Kennedy is now officially the mayor, officially a tenant in the mayor’s office at city hall for the next four years.

She knows what she has to do.

She understands the way city government works here.

We wish her the best.

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