THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Menino reaches a mayoral milestone

Surpasses White as longest to serve

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By Michael Levenson
Globe Staff / July 13, 2009
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Today is day number 5,846.

Not that anyone’s counting.

But after 4:55 p.m., the exact time he first took office, Mayor Thomas M. Menino will officially become Boston’s longest-serving mayor, surpassing Mayor Kevin H. White, whose tenure lasted 5,845 days.

No gala celebration, lofty speeches, or champagne toasts are planned. For the mayor, it’s just another day. He will mark 16 years in office with nothing fancier than the same barbecue he holds for neighbors and supporters every July 12 in his backyard in Hyde Park.

“Just going to have my regular cookout I have every year,’’ Menino said with a shrug. “That’s all I’m going to do.’’

It is, perhaps, a fitting tribute. Menino, 66, who is vying for a record fifth term, rose to power promising street-level leadership after decades of upheaval wrought by urban renewal and busing, said Thomas H. O’Connor, university historian at Boston College.

“He gave these beaten-down people what they wanted and what they wanted was normalcy, was peace and quiet and ordinariness,’’ O’Connor said. “This is what he gave them, and I think this is what he is still giving them.’’

Menino said he isn’t giving much thought to history. After all, if he wins another term, he’d like to make it to day number 7,465.

“I just go about my job every day,’’ he said. “I do the same thing tomorrow as I do today.’’