Since the city budget has acquired high-profile status over proposed library closings, perhaps we should turn our eyes to the person who, at City Hall, is referred to as Mayor Lisa. Ms. Lisa C. Signori decides how much money will be spent on everything she oversees, from schools to police to the Boston Public Library. Click here. In 2007, the mayor created a cabinet-level position for her as the city's chief financial officer and chief architect of the budget. In 2008, in a move that must have further endeared her to the mayor, Ms. Signori gained control of the BPL's trust funds, wresting them from the control of then-president Bernard Margolis. Click here. The question is, who is overseeing Mayor Lisa? And who decides how much money is needed for which institutions? Where is the transparency? I am asking because it seems as if Ms. Signori, who also approves our tax rates, may be hiding pots of money here and there. For example, last week, after a series of cuts to the Boston school budget, a $3.5 million spending gap remained. This prompted Mayor Menino to "allow the district to increase next year’s budget by that amount," according to the Boston Globe. Translated, there was a $3.5 million pot of money somewhere in the city budget that Ms. Lisa Signori allowed the mayor to use.
Sooooo...are there any other pots of money like that? For, say, the Boston Public Library's $3.6 million shortfall that caused the need to close one-third of its branches just when people need libraries the most? For more on the school budget battle, Click here, and go to page 2.