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Brookline selectwoman stepping down to become governor's communications director

Posted by Brock Parker  January 4, 2013 12:32 PM

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Brookline Selectwoman Jesse Mermell is stepping down from the board to become the communications director for Governor Deval Patrick.

Mermell announced in a statement Friday afternoon that she will leaving the Brookline Board of Selectmen on Monday, Jan. 14,--the day she will start her new job with the administration of Patrick and Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray.

“I will miss the Board terribly, but look forward to continuing to be engaged in the civic life of our wonderful community, and to further serving Brookline in my new capacity,” Mermell said.

Mermell, 32, will also be leaving her job as the director of the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Previously she worked as the vice president for external affairs for the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.

She has about four months left on her second term as a Brookline Selectwoman, and Chairwoman Betsy DeWitt said the board must now decide how to proceed until the town election in May.

DeWitt said it is her understanding that the board can not appoint a replacement for Mermell, and unless a special election is held the board may have to proceed with only four members until the town election.

“My sense is that given that we’re talking about four months, it’s probably not going to make sense to have a special election,” she said.

Mermell said the prospect of taking a job with Gov. Patrick’s administration arose unexpectedly just before Christmas when she began talking to the governor’s recently-appointed chief of staff, Brendan Ryan, who has been serving as the administration’s communications director.

Mermell said her biggest hesitation to accepting the post has been that she would have to step down from the Brookline Board of Selectmen.

DeWitt said Mermell has served as the board’s point person for environmental issues and her departure will be a loss for the town.

“She’s a very smart and very capable person and I believe she will do well,” DeWitt said.

Mermell said she feels a sense of accomplishment that the town has maintained its Aaa bond rating and has been named a Massachusetts Green Community. During her tenure as a selectwoman, the town also updated its climate action plan and brought the Hubway bicycle sharing system to Brookline.

--brock.globe@gmail.com

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