July 1, 2006
Publication:
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
In this case study, city hall and FBOs collaborate, less strategically and more opportunistically than in other cases, in response to a crisis. In urban settings, especially, faith-based organizations and city halls often converge around the combustible issues of race and police-community relations. From this case study, readers can learn more about the experiences of two Boston mayors, Ray Flynn and Thomas Menino, and their efforts to overcome racial tensions in the city, especially between police and the black community. During Flynn's administration, race relations deteriorated, most notably, due to his handling of the Stuart affair. Charles Stuart, a white man, set off an intense manhunt by police after he falsely claimed that a black man had killed his pregnant wife. When Menino, the city's first Italian-American mayor, later came into office, he brought a bridge-building style, which signaled that style as much as substance is important for partnerships between city hall, police, and the faith community. Menino's moderate approach was also crucial during the various crises experienced in his term. This case study is part of City Hall and Religion: An Online Curriculum for Public Managers. With support from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the City Hall and Religion curriculum was designed as a professional resource for mayors, and other public managers, interested in urban revitalization through cross-sector collaboration
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