Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Here's to privacy in government

It's not often that David D'Alessandro steps out of the shadows these days. The former John Hancock CEO is comfortable in his semi-retirement - owning Toscano on Charles Street and dabbling here and there in matters public and private.

But the guy is nothing short of genius and, when he puts pen to paper, I read. Today's tour de force in the Globe was worth it for me and everyone who cares about Boston and it's future should take a look.

It's a difficult sell at first - this idea that a search for a new superintendent of Boston schools should be at least semi-private, cutting out the do-gooder neighborhood and school groups that help drive any success the schools have. But when you look at the unmitigated disaster that has so-far unfolded in trying to replace Tom Payzant, it starts to make a hell of a lot of sense.

As a former reporter, I do believe in transparency in government. But I have seen in my two years in government that there are times when a story - even a straight story - can upend government's over-arching goal, which is to do its best for the people.

In this case, if Boston gets a better superintendent because the process is a bit more shrouded, who's really hurt? Plus, look at D'Alesandro's track record in searches - he was smart enough to pull Eddie Davis down from Lowell to run the Boston Police Department. He gets it.

D'Alesandro is right - the people of Boston hired Mayor Menino, he has taken ownership of the schools, let him do his job.

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