Boston acting Mayor Kim Janey said she expects an investigation into Boston Police Commissioner Dennis White will be completed by the end of April.
White, appointed in the waning days of former Mayor Marty Walsh's administration, was almost immediately placed on administrative leave due to a report in the Boston Globe that he allegedly threatened to shoot his former wife 22 years ago, information that had never been in the public domain. Despite a push from the state's public records office, Walsh refused to release the internal affairs records relating to the allegations until the city completes its investigation.
In a wide-ranging interview with Boston Public Radio on Thursday, Janey said that she believes "people should have the opportunity to move on from things when they happen like this, when you take responsibility you can move on."
"I don't know what this report will show," she added, "so it's important we do see what the report shows so I can make an informed decision about the future."
Janey did not say whether she would release the internal affairs records sought by the Boston Globe, but said she would "be looking at that to see what the requests are," and added that she is committed to transparency ensured through the city's new Office of Police Accountability and Transparency – established by the Walsh administration.
Janey has said her top priorities include pushing for increased vaccination and testing as the city recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, dismantling structural racism and further reforming the Boston Police Department.
On police reform generally, Janey said she believes "we ask police to take on too much," adding that she would look to enact reforms through budgeting and the contracts negotiated with police unions.
Since Janey has become the city’s acting executive — following Walsh's departure to become U.S. Labor Secretary — she has toured the Charlestown school where she was bused as a child, rolled out a coronavirus vaccineadvertising campaigntargeting the city’s disproportionately impacted residents, and — most recently — launched an initiative to diversify the city's public contracts process.
"I think Boston is ready for a city that is more equitable," said Janey.
"Less than 1% of $2.1 billion dollars going to Black or Latinx companies is not anything we should be proud of," she said. "There is a 25% goal now which is much greater than that."
Janey announced just this week $2 million in initiatives to foster diversity in Boston's much criticized public contracting process, including a new five-person team within the office of economic development to work on the problem, and a $750,000 opportunity fund.
"We have to build the capacity of our businesses to take advantage of these opportunities, we have to build our own capacity," she said, noting she aims to hire a director of strategic procurement.
Janey also discussed a new pilot program providing pre-paid Charlie Cards to about 1,000 workers until April 16. The goal is to see how this affects ridership.
“As we do this pilot it’s important we measure those things so we can see success and hopefully build from there,” she said.
Janey said in her new capacity she’s advocating for certain bus routes, "particularly in those communities that have been left out of rapid transit," to be made free.
More broadly speaking, Janey said she is open to making public transit across the MBTA free. (That, however, is a state decision.)
“It’s going to cost money,” she said. “This is why we need to look at piloting and see how we can use some of that federal money to get free buses, and that is exactly what I’m working on in the city of Boston.”
Janey noted that while she does have a driver as acting mayor, she still takes the T.
"It's a bit of a production, but it's a way I connect and stay grounded and see first-hand the challenges with our public transit and also interact with residents in our city and see how things are going," she said.
"I remember growing up in Roxbury and having the elevated train. I still feel some kind of way about that train being gone, but I’m going to leave that for another conversation," she said.
WATCH: Janey discusses growing up in Boston