BOSTON — In his first day as Boston's mayor-elect Wednesday, Martin Walsh pledged a smooth transition while promising a racially and ethnically diverse cabinet.
Walsh also said he respected the decision of voters in the city's East Boston neighborhood to reject a casino plan and offered to help Boston Mayor Thomas Menino negotiate a thorny police contract.
Walsh, a state representative, defeated City Councilor and fellow Democrat John Connolly on Tuesday in the race to succeed Menino, the city's longest-serving mayor, who opted not to seek re-election.
Walsh said he met privately with Menino for about 20 minutes earlier in the day and received words of advice from the man who's held the office for the past two decades.
"He just basically said a lot of people are going to be coming at you, you have a lot of friends now," Walsh said Wednesday. "He said just be careful and move forward and always keep the residents of the city of Boston number one."
Menino also offered space in City Hall for Walsh's transition team. Walsh said he planned to name the team by the end of the week.
Walsh addressed his fellow lawmakers at the Massachusetts Statehouse on Wednesday, saying that it's hard to leave an institution that he's come to love. Walsh, who was first elected to the House in 1997, said he'd rely on those relationships in his new job.
"It's an important relationship. We need to have that relationship with Beacon Hill," he said.
Walsh said that he received a call from President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton moments after his election.
Vice President Joe Biden also called to congratulate him, but initially got the wrong Marty Walsh, instead connecting with a former aide to the late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy.
That Marty Walsh said before he could explain the mix-up, Biden launched into his congratulations, saying "Marty, you did it, you son of gun."
Walsh, who said he's received misplaced calls for the other Marty Walsh in the past, said he quickly set Biden straight and passed along the cellphone number for the mayor-elect. Walsh said Biden then jokingly congratulated him for not being mayor.
Biden's office did not immediately return a call for comment.
The mayor-elect also said Wednesday that said he'd work to make sure that up to half the seats in his cabinet are filled by minorities.
Although he conceded it wasn't his top priority he also said he'd make good on a campaign promise to look into the possibility of tearing down Boston City Hall to better develop the area.
The hulking structure has been much maligned over the years and sits in a largely undeveloped brick plaza. Walsh said he'd like to explore the possibility that the area could be better developed to bring in more revenue for the city.
Walsh also said he wasn't surprised by the vote in East Boston to reject a proposed casino at the Suffolk Downs race track, but he was surprised by the size of the vote. The plan was rejected by 56 percent of voters.
"As I stated in the whole campaign whatever the folks of East Boston decided, whatever their will was, I would support, and they voted down the casino and I support them," he said.