Blogger Hull hired for top City Hall post

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Brian Hull, a former owner and editor of the left-leaning Rhode Island’s Future blog, has landed a job in Providence City Hall.

Hull will serve as Mayor Angel Taveras’ director of municipal and intergovernmental affairs, a position that has been vacant since Will Farrell left the administration earlier this year to start a lobbying firm.

“I am excited and grateful to join the Taveras administration and work for the city in which I live and love,” Hull said in a prepared statement. “With my experience and background in economic development, social and urban policy, I look forward to hitting the ground running to continue the progress of Mayor Taveras’ administration.”

Hull’s hiring was announced Monday as part of a series of transitions within the Taveras administration. Toby Shepherd, the mayor’s policy director, is leaving City Hall for a job with the Rhode Island Foundation. Sheila Dormody, the city’s director of sustainability, will also serve as acting director of policy.

“I look forward to working closely with Brian and Sheila in their new roles as we continue our efforts to move Providence forward,” Taveras said in a statement. “Our city is fortunate to have such capable, talented and dedicated individuals who are committed to public service.”

Taveras was elected in 2010 and is running in the Democratic primary for governor against General Treasurer Gina Raimondo and Clay Pell later this year. On the Republican side, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung is running against businessman Ken Block.

Since announcing his candidacy late last year, Taveras has seen several of his top aides leave for other opportunities.

Matt Jerzyk, the city’s deputy city solicitor, and Arianne Lynch, a deputy chief of staff to Taveras, abruptly resigned days after Taveras entered the governor’s race. Farrell resigned in January. Michael D’Amico, the mayor’s director of administration since 2011, left in March to launch a consulting firm. Liz White, the city’s deputy director of communications, also left in March to run City Council President Michael Solomon’s campaign for mayor.

Hull holds a bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island College and a master’s degree from Harvard University. Since graduating from Harvard, he has worked as a consultant for the Research and Advisory Practice at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a Boston-based nonprofit.

Hull bought the Rhode Island’s Future blog from National Education Association Rhode Island (NEARI) activist Patrick Crowley in August 2009. He wrote a post endorsing Taveras for mayor in 2010.

The blog was founded by Jerzyk in 2005. Hull sold it to local journalist Bob Plain in 2012.

Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan

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