Here’s when Michelle Wu will become mayor of Boston

The transition period is not very long this time around.

Michelle Wu speaks to the crowd while kicking off a canvasing event with Sen. Elizabeth Warren at Kays Lounge in Boston on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. Erin Clark / The Boston Globe

The people have voted: Michelle Wu will be Boston’s next mayor.

So when does she take office? In a word: Soon.

Unusually soon.

Back in September, Acting Mayor Kim Janey met with both Wu and her general election opponent, fellow City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, and agreed on Tuesday, Nov. 16, as the day the incoming mayor would take over the reins — two weeks after Election Day.

The date was largely selected due to the city charter.

Under the law, a new mayor must be sworn in as soon as conveniently possible after election results are certified.

That detail of the law came into focus for city officials earlier this year as city councilors hammered out a home-rule petition to remove a special election requirement when then-Mayor Marty Walsh was stepping down to serve in President Joe Biden’s administration.


While the petition became moot when Walsh didn’t leave office by March 5, a committee report on the proposal, per The Boston Globe, explained: “The Councilors recognized that swearing in the elected mayor after certification will clear up confusion between the powers of acting mayor and the powers of a duly elected mayor and follows the will of the voters.”

After Election Day, there is a 10-day recount petition period when results cannot be certified. With that window ending on Friday, Nov. 12, at 5 p.m., the city’s Board of Election Commissioners can certify the results on Monday, Nov. 15, should no recount be requested.

Thus, Wu can step into her term on Nov. 16, not in January as is usually the case.

According to Janey’s administration, the acting mayor was scheduled to meet regularly with both Wu and Essaibi George throughout the fall in preparation for the transition. Following Tuesday’s election, Wu will now undergo more detailed briefings from city departments.

Although two weeks is a tight turnaround period for a new administration, Wu, with nearly seven years of City Hall experience under her belt, said on Monday she is ready.

“The issues are not new, and we’ll be able to hit the ground running from day one to make sure that we are prepared for what will happen and be able to respond to the immediate needs of the city,” Wu told reporters.


Still, she added: “It is not possible for anyone to arrive on day one after a two-week transition with a fully staffed-up team and all of the issues ready to go.”

“So because we will … not have the luxury of a two-month-long transition, it will be simultaneous and concurrent with the work of getting in there and hitting the ground running,” Wu continued. “We’ll continue staffing up and take our time to get those decisions right.”


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