Saturday, September 26, 2009

Councilor Ciommo Running Reconnaissance for Mayor Menino?

In Mayor Thomas Menino's escalating Delete-Delete-Gate controversy, the Boston Globe reported that the city released on Friday a set of 5,018 emails sent by, or received by, Michael Kineavy, chief of policy and planning and one of Menino's top aides. The emails appear to be those found on city backup servers that were saved by other city employees, not Kineavy; the city's forensic contractor has not yet retrieved additional emails from Kineavy's computer hard disk.

In the newly-released emails, Allston-Brighton District 9 City Councilor Mark Ciommo was apparently tipping Mayor Menino off about what two of his competitors in this year's mayoral campaign might be planning to do:
Some city councilors, including Allston-Brighton District Councilor Mark Ciommo, also offered Kineavy a heads-up about separate issues that the mayor’s reelection challengers, [Councilors-At-Large] Michael F. Flaherty and Sam Yoon, were preparing to raise in council hearings.
This is not particularly surprising, since "Ciommo is considered a Menino ally," according to politics reporter David Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix.

Earlier this year, Councilor Ciommo ran interference with Councilor Yoon over a hearing about the Boston Redevelopment Authority's review process of Boston College's Institutional Master Plan, where Ciommo got Yoon to scale back the language of the hearing order in order to "remove politics from the discussion and focus on the BRA process," according to Ciommo. Ciommo's actions minimized the potential fallout from hearings that could have been critical of the BRA -- as well as the mayor's oversight and control of the agency.

Meanwhile, the city's computer forensics contractor has estimated the cost of the email recovery work to possibly reach as high as a quarter of a million dollars. Since the recovery is the direct result of Kineavy's own failure to save his emails as he is required to do under the state's Public Records Law, will he be asked to foot the bill himself?

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