Felix Arroyo was fired amid allegations of sexual harrassment.

Credit: SHNS/File 2013

Former Boston City Council President: 'Sufficient Proof' Led To Felix Arroyo's Firing

August 25, 2017

Joe Mathieu: We're joined on WGBH's Morning Edition by Larry DiCara, former president of the Boston City Council, longtime Boston political analyst, on news that Felix Arroyo has been fired. Larry, thanks for joining us this morning. How damaging is this — or not — for the Walsh administration?

Larry DiCara: I do not think it's damaging. I think it would have been damaging had Marty Walsh taken no action. I think this is the correct step for him, both in terms of the law and in terms of politics.

JM: Larry, Felix Arroyo has denied all of these allegations. Is his political career over?

LD: It's in extraordinary jeopardy if not over. I don't think the mayor would have taken this action if there had not been a great preponderance of the evidence. I think it took about a month for them to do their internal investigation, and I expect that they felt there was sufficient proof and that's why he fired him.

JM: Would the same thing have happened if this were a corporate situation rather than a government office?

LD: Absolutely, except it might have happened more quickly. There's very little tolerance, if any, for this kind of activity in the workplace in the current era.

JM: That's why I ask you. Do you think it took too long?

LD: No, because city government works in a very deliberative fashion, and I'm sure they wanted to have all the facts. The Arroyo family has played a very important role in the city for a long, long time, so I don't think this is an action the mayor took lightly. I expect he brought in legal counsel who have expertise in these matters, and certainly this was in violation of city policy.

JM: It has been suggested, Larry DiCara, that it's no coincidence that the [Boston] Teacher's Union contract was announced right around the same time. Is there anything to read into there?

LD: I'm glad the teacher's union signed a contract. That's a great thing for the city and great thing for schoolchildren. Perhaps it was a coincidence, perhaps it was not.

JM: Let me ask you about the next decision here, and that is who will be the next public health chief in this city? Mayor Walsh has a big decision to make. What will this process be like?

LD: I expect he'll look at those who have positions of authority in city government already. These positions are created positions. They do not exist by statute or by ordinance. He doesn't even have to create one. He could merge this job with another job. This job didn't exist years ago. So I wouldn't be too worried about it. The bulk of the work is done by career people at the Public Health Commission and elsewhere, people who are experts, people have done this work for a long time. So I think from the point of view of the average citizen of the city, life will be very similar and this will not be disruptive.

JM: How about morale for that staff inside that office?

LD: The staff itself is relatively small. The people at City Hall do not necessarily relate to the people in the field, in the department, so I wouldn't be too worried about it. It's very different than, for example, Truman firing MacArthur. That probably had a morale impact much more than this will.

JM: Larry DiCara, you're the guy we call at times like these. We thank you so much for talking with us this morning on WGBH's Morning Edition. Let's do it in person next time.

LD: All right, Joe. Good talking to you.

JM: Sir, thank you. Have a great weekend. 

Click the audio player above to listen to the entire interview with WGBH's Morning Edition anchor Joe Mathieu and Larry DiCara, former president of the Boston City Council and longtime Boston political analyst.


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