The mayor was always concerned about the little things in the city. I remember getting calls from him at 11pm because a thought had woken him up, something that needed to be looked at or needed to be corrected. It could be a property on Hyde Park Ave. or over in Bowdoin-Geneva, just something he noticed as he moved around the city that stuck with him. And I’d look at the money I had and what kind of result it could get and I knew it wouldn’t be enough for him. If we had a dollar to spend, he wanted a buck and a half back. I’d be satisfied with $1.10, but he wasn’t.
What many people don’t remember is Menino, when he was on the City Council, he chaired the Ways and Means Committee for years. He understands municipal finance and the city budget better than just about anyone. Back when he first came to office, the mayor told me he was afraid that financial trouble or a drop in the city’s bond rating could inhibit moving the city forward. He said, “I won’t let any financial problem slow improvements down.” And he didn’t. That could be seen as one of his greatest accomplishments. The mayor did a terrific job that has let the city improve the schools, improve the streets, convince companies it is a good, solid place to put money. I recently read Boston is now the sixth most economically powerful cities in the world. That’s because of how well he’s managed the city’s money, the taxpayers’ money.
Back in 1992, when I still called him Tommy, he was considering a run for Congress. I said to him, “Tommy, you’re not interested in this. If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?” He immediately responded, be the mayor of the city of Boston. How many people do you know whose dreams come true like that? He made it happen because he loves the city so much.
Architect John Eade ran Boston’s Inspectional Services Department from 1994 to 1998. He spoke with Kathleen Kingsbury.