Sullivan Returns As City's Mayor

The Cambridge City Council re-elected Michael A. Sullivan mayor at its inaugural meeting Monday, making Sullivan only the fourth mayor to serve consecutive terms since World War II.

Traditionally, the council members, who elect the mayor from within their own ranks, take turns serving as mayor, and the election process can involve weeks of behind-the-scenes wrangling.

But Councillor Anthony D. Galluccio said after the meeting that he and the four other councillors who voted for Sullivan were determined to decide based on qualifications, not whose turn it was—and they wanted to get it done quickly.

“Today was a statement that the old days are behind us,” he said.

After taking the oath of office, Sullivan told a packed audience that this council—whose nine members were all re-elected last November—would continue to focus on the issues of education, affordable housing and quality of life.


He also pledged to improve the city’s relations with local universities. Among the key votes last term, councillors unanimously supported a deal with Harvard over development of the Riverside neighborhood.

“We made some strides,” Sullivan said of the town-gown relationship, “but sure as heck we have a long way to go.”

First elected to the council in 1993, Sullivan hails from a local political dynasty, once called the “Kennedys of Cambridge.” His father and uncle both served as mayor, and Sullivan was sworn in under a portrait of his grandfather, former councillor Michael “Mickey the Dude” Sullivan, for whom the council’s Sullivan Chamber is named.

Monday’s council inauguration, in a City Hall decorated with red carpets and flowers, included performances by the Brothers of Kuumba—who count Councillor Kenneth E. Reeves ’72 among their alumni.

City Clerk D. Margaret Drury, who presided over the ceremonies, read the credentials of each councillor and administered the oath of office as their families and supporters looked on.

After they were sworn in, the councillors elected Sullivan as mayor as their first order of business. In a separate vote, Marjorie C. Decker was elected vice mayor.

Cambridge is run by a city manager hired by the city council, leaving the mayorship as a largely ceremonial position. In addition to chairing the city council, the mayor’s chief responsibility is to serve as chair of the School Committee.

How the Votes Came In

Sullivan garnered the five-vote majority when Galluccio stepped out of the race just days before the election, and worked to build a coalition to support Sullivan.

In addition to Galluccio and Sullivan, Councillors Decker, Reeves, and Timothy J. Toomey voted for Sullivan.

Recommended Articles