Just days after the bombshell dropped that Felix G. Arroyo, Marty Walsh’s health services chief, had been accused of sexual harassment in a complaint, Arroyo has been fired.
“Felix Arroyo has been terminated from the City of Boston after a comprehensive internal investigation,’’ Laura Oggeri, City Hall spokeswoman, says in a statement. “The city will immediately begin to search for candidates to fill the chief of health and human services position and we hope to announce an appointment soon.”
His ouster comes after a female employee alleged that the prominent City Hall aide and former mayoral candidate “grabbed my bottom on several occasions and spanked it frequently,” and that when she confronted him about his behavior, he threatened her, “grabbed the back of my neck and squeezed it very hard.” The woman, who has not been identified, names Walsh and the city in her complaint to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, which alleges harassment, retaliation, and a hostile workplace. She says she endured harassment since 2015.
Arroyo, who has been on paid leave since late July, denies the allegations.
“We are disappointed in this decision,’’ spokeswoman Colette Phillips says in a statement. “Felix is adamant that these allegations are baseless and retaliatory and will continue to fight to clear his name and is looking forward to fully cooperating with the MCAD.”
Could this spell trouble for Marty Walsh, who’s up for re-election? After all, he does have two other aides facing extortion charges (perhaps luckily for City Hall, the trial was postponed until January, after the election). And this certainly doesn’t help combat the narrative, pushed by City Councilor and underdog mayoral challenger Tito Jackson, that City Hall is being mismanaged. Speaking with the Herald, he says he wants to apologize to the woman on behalf of the city, adding that he was concerned about “the manner in which she was treated by the administration.”
“These are allegations, but if the allegations move forward…I find it difficult to continue to have an administration who is not going to deal with these issues,” Jackson tells the Herald. “These issues of management come up time and time again in this administration.”
Oggeri, the city spokeswoman, says the allegations are “intolerable and disturbing” and says his administration is “working to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible.”
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