Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is defending his cousin’s promotion to a top police command post from her prior job as his driver, a move that is drawing fire from watchdogs, reports the Boston Herald. “It’s not nepotism. … She should not be penalized because her cousin is the mayor of Boston,” Walsh said, citing Sgt. Detective Winifred Cotter’s 31 years of experience. Police Commissioner William Evans promoted Cotter to deputy superintendent, making her one of 23 officers on his command staff.
Cotter will hold the title Deputy Superintendent in the Office of the Police Commissioner. She had been assigned to Walsh’s security detail as part of the Dignitary Protection Unit. Walsh handpicked his cousin to serve as his driver after he was elected. She earned more than $208,000 last year, which included $55,237.29 in overtime. In her new role, she will make $153,608.61 but is not eligible for overtime. In her role as a deputy superintendent, Cotter will take on the new responsibility of working with the city’s health commission on the ongoing opioid crisis and addiction issues. Former City Hall watchdog Joseph Slavet said Cotter’s appointment looks bad. “I can’t make a judgment if she’s qualified or not,” Slavet said. “She’s moved all the way up to something as high as superintendent level — that raises a lot of questions. … Appearances are very important, and if it looks like political favoritism, that isn’t good for Walsh.”