Brian Golden to Head Redevelopment Authority

Brian Golden was recently named permanent director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) and Economic Development Industrial Corporation (EDIC).

Having served as acting director since last January, Golden will continue to lead the efforts to reform and modernize the agency, which has already undergone a significant transformation in the last 11 months. He has been with the agency since 2009, having served previously as executive secretary for four years.

“Brian has shown a deep understanding of the issues affecting growth in Boston,” Mayor Walsh said. “He has given me confidence that we can move ahead with deep reforms to the BRA, while still driving development forward. So today I’m pleased to announce I’m appointing Brian Golden to be the permanent director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Brian will work hand-in-hand with businesses and communities to make development in Boston work for everyone.”

Golden said, “I am deeply honored that Mayor Walsh has asked me to continue to lead this agency through a critical juncture in our history. The staff of the Boston Redevelopment Authority and Economic Development Industrial Corporation has played an essential role in building one of the greatest cities, not just of America, but of the world. Despite all of our shared successes, it’s also obvious that certain aspects of our operation are ripe for improvement. Our goal is to create an agency that is reflective of the world class city it helped to build, and I’m excited for the job ahead.”

Golden has led a sweeping effort to reform the agency since January, and he has overseen a flurry of changes in the wake of KPMG’s performance review. Much of this work has focused on increasing the level of transparency and accountability with regard to how the agency conducts its core mission of planning and economic development.

“These will always be contentious issues, but even when there is disagreement, and perhaps more so when there is disagreement, we must be transparent and honest in all areas of our work,” Golden added.

To this end, several new policies have been approved by the BRA/EDIC Board of Directors in recent months to improve transparency and accountability during the Article 80 development review process. A new website launched late last year provides much better access to public documents and information, and developers are now required to submit project proposals and accompanying updates through an online system. All BRA/EDIC board meetings are now streamed live on the BRA’s Web site, and meeting agendas and memoranda are available to the public in advance of the monthly meetings.

Working with Walsh’s administration and Chief of Economic Development John Barros, Golden has introduced a wave of new leadership to the authority, including a new chief of staff, director of development review and policy, acting general counsel, director of communications, compliance program manager, controller, and lease administrator. This past spring, the BRA/EDIC board of directors approved reforms to the vacation, sick leave, and compensatory time policies to produce savings.

An independent review of the agency’s Planning Division is expected to in January. The consultant will review the management practices, mission, and structure of the division in order to recommend changes for improving workflow, predictability, and transparency in the planning process.

A team comprised of leasing, legal, and finance staff is actively reviewing all leases that the BRA/EDIC is party to in order to ensure compliance and to collect revenue in a timely manner. New lease management software that is being implemented will help provide better accountability over these agreements in the future.

While there has been an intense focus on improving operations at the agency, the BRA/EDIC has also helped to facilitate a tremendous amount of investment in Boston this year. As of the end of November, over 8.4 million square feet of projects, totaling nearly $3 billion in development, had been approved by the board.

Golden is a graduate of Boston Latin School, Harvard College, the College of William & Mary’s Law School and the United States Army War College. He was elected four times to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where he originally met then-Rep. Walsh. Golden has held several senior government posts at the local, state and federal level.

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