Jack Kelly, the city’s neighborhood liaison in Charlestown, has announced he will resign sometime next month from his position in the mayor's office.
Kelly, a townie, has served for the past five years as the link between residents and the mayor’s office. He has mediated zoning issues, helped residents find homes after a fire displaced them, coordinated public works repairs, fielded calls and complaints on just about every topic and most recently sat in on a string of bike lane meetings.
(Full disclosure: Kelly is also a contributor to Patch.)
Tom Cunha, the chair of the Charlestown Neighborhood Council, praised Kelly's work as the neighborhood liaison.
"Jack's done wonderful things," Cunha said. "He stepped into the job and hit the ground running. I've seen him in people's kitchens trying to solve zoning problems. He's always answered the council's requests to the city and followed up on those requests."
Kelly said that at 30, he would like to pursue other opportunities, namely writing, but said he had no definite plans.
Kelly said he prided himself on being accessible to residents.
“I like e-mail, and nobody texts more than I do," he said, “but when it comes to this work, I think it’s important that people see a face of the government.”
Kelly, a recovering drug addict, has also strived to reduce drug use in the neighborhood.
“I come from that world,” he said, “so it’s very personal to me."
He serves on the boards of the Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition and Charlestown Against Drugs and said he was proud to have been involved in the opening of the Charlestown Recovery House.
“The best thing that I hope happens out of the work that I’ve done,” he said, “is for some kid who is thinking about giving up to see that I’ve been able to accomplish this and see that they have a chance to have a great life.”
The mayor's office did not respond to a request for a comment. It's unclear how quickly Kelly's position will be filled, or when the mayor will begin the search for a candidate.
Kelly will continue his work through the Bunker Hill Day festivities.
"He really did well in the job," Cunha said. "And he'll be missed. Those are big shoes to fill."