Drury is exiting from Redevelopment Authority, where she was key in rebuilding after a scandal
A farewell to Margaret Drury was announced Wednesday by the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, where she has been a board member since 2012.
Drury’s latest five-year term expires in April, and she has opted against a possible renewal by the city manager. “We thank her and will miss her insights and guidance,” the agency said in an email.
The North Cambridge resident was city clerk from 1992 to 2012, when she retired from her role serving the City Council and accepted one at the authority – then in a state of rebuilding from scandal.
The CRA, which was formed in 1956 to craft the development of Kendall Square and transformed acres of industrial wasteland into an economic engine for Cambridge and Massachusetts, is intended to have a five-member board served by an executive director and other staff. In 2012, as the authority backed a Boston Properties construction project for Google, it was revealed that Joseph F. Tulimieri, executive director of the authority for three decades, had been running things alone for the past 32 months.
As board members drifted away, the city manager at the time had failed to appoint four replacements; the board member appointed by the state, Barry Zevin, had simply never been called to a meeting by Tulimieri.
The Google project went through with little serious further review: The City Council said the CRA had approved it – ignoring that there had been no board to consider it – and the CRA noted that the council had approved it.
Drury and her fellow board members, including chair Kathy Born, otherwise set a standard for transparency and well-run meetings that included respectful mid-meeting dialogue with residents. The board also expanded its portfolio from Kendall Square to projects elsewhere in Cambridge, arguing that the entire city is affected by the growth of the square.
The new board was appointed in April 2012, with its first task being the Google project. In May 2012, the board took some of its first actions and Drury, the longtime city clerk working patiently and mostly silently with the City Council, took a procedural action on a legal notice: “I move the question,” Drury said. “I’ve waited for 20 years to say that.” The line got laughs.
As vice chair and then assistant secretary of the board, Drury “has been instrumental to the re-creation of the CRA as a community-minded, responsive agency,” the Wednesday email said. “Her dedication and strong advocacy for affordable housing and underrepresented populations in Cambridge has emboldened the CRA as it works to achieve these goals.”
Drury has a degree from Suffolk Law School and was executive director of the Cambridge Rent Control Board before becoming city clerk.
“Drury’s knowledge of parliamentary procedures, relevant municipal ordinances and state law has been invaluable in guiding policy, as well as partnering with the city on interagency projects,” the CRA email said.
While saying goodbye, the authority took the opportunity to advertise its upcoming vacancy. The application deadline is April 3.
This post was updated to correct a typo in the photo caption; the photo was taken in 2012.
I am very grateful to Margaret Drury for her service at the CRA and with the city. She exudes sound judgment, intelligence, respect, and grace in all her pursuits. But looking at this photo, I cringe to see the state flag, with its iconography considered racist by many, so prominently featured behind the CRA members. I realize law requires the flag to be in buildings where public meetings are held, but it needn’t be front and center the way it appears to be here.
When you look at Kend-hell….is it any surprise that at best no one was paying attention and at worst a few made illicit gains during that critical 2000-2012 time frame?
So much for that roof top garden, carved out at the last minute. It was the first thing on the chopping block…and now….doesn’t exist at all.
I’m sure she did a great job with the situation she was left with.
But what can you do when the problem is already so intertwined with the local economy?
Oh Jan. Never wasting an opportunity to virtue signal.
Marc does this work largely as a labour of love, not profit.
He took a photo, he posted a photo.
Be glad there is any coverage of local government at all.
Perhaps you should go to all the city meetings and move the flag to a place you find acceptable.
I have had the honor of working with Margaret for over 40 years. She is the consummate public servant. And I know she’s not done yet helping our city!
Sam: You misunderstood my comment. I was not criticizing Marc for taking or using the photo. The flag was there front and center, hard to avoid seeing or photographing. And apparently hard for state leaders to change despite acknowledging that it offends many people.
Yes, somehow Jan has changed the focus away from an incredibly dedicated public servant to the “flag.” Really? So, let’s not talk about the dedication of infinite hours. Please talk about the inanimate object in the room.
“Lilotter” Did you even read the first two sentences of my comment thanking and praising Margaret who also married me at City Hall 20+ years ago?
Does Cambridge really need 1950s-style urban renewal?