Add me to the list of people saddened—and intrigued—by the news that Tom Walsh has resigned as Mayor Domenic Sarno’s communications director, a job he held for five years.
Walsh, as far as I can tell, was generally well liked and respected by local reporters. I always found him extremely helpful and straightforward and appreciated that he never dodged calls or tried to spin me. (He’s also a nice guy, which goes a long way in that kind of position.) I’ve always felt a particular fondness for Walsh, as I suspect it was he who smoothed things over when Sarno wasn’t talking to me for a short time early in his administration.
School Committee member Antonette Pepe has released a statement saying of Walsh’s departure, “What a loss to the city.” Pepe praised him for doing his job “with respect, kindness and most of all with honesty” and noted that she considered his talents wasted in that position, suggesting that Walsh, who holds a law degree, “should have been working in the law department not writing speeches and communicating with the media.” (It’s a dirty job, Antonette, but someone’s got to do it.)
I haven’t talked to Walsh since his resignation was announced; according to statement from Sarno, he’s leaving to pursue a law career. “I appreciate all of the hard work and dedication Tom has given over the years, and he will be missed,” Sarno said in a press release sent out by Walsh’s replacement, Jim Leydon, who previously was the mayor’s director of constituent services and, prior to that, an aide to state Rep. Sean Curran.
Meanwhile, I wonder if electoral politics might also play a part in Walsh’s future. In 2009, he was the subject of a write-in campaign for the Ward 6 City Council seat (an effort he said he did nothing to encourage). While Walsh has spoken in the past of a possible interest in running for office one day, he also said he couldn’t do that while also working in the mayor’s office. Stayed tuned for the 2013 election season?