Felix G. Arroyo, the city of Boston’s health services chief, has been fired on Thursday following allegations of sexual harassment detailed in a complaint by one of his female employees.
“Felix Arroyo has been terminated from the city of Boston after a comprehensive internal investigation,” said Laura Oggeri, the city’s communications chief, 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.”
According to the complaint, obtained by the Boston Globe, the female employee said that Arroyo made sexual comments to her, and that he “grabbed my bottom on several occasions and spanked it frequently.”
The woman also said that Arroyo grabbed her by the back of the neck after learning that she was going to complain to the authorities.
The complaint was made to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination concerning harassment, retaliation and a hostile workplace. The woman, who has not been identified, alleges that she endured harassment since 2015.
Arroyo has denied the allegations through a spokesperson.
“We are disappointed in this decision,’’ spokesperson Colette Phillips told the Globe. “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.”
Mayor Marty Walsh noted that it’s a “difficult situation.”
“Our priority is to make sure that all employees feel safe at City Hall and what we’re going to do now is begin immediately a search for a candidate to fill this role and hopefully we can have an announcement pretty soon on this,” Walsh told WBZ.
Boston police are investigating the allegations, the Globe reports, and the city also has said that it has “the assistance of an outside council in its investigation.”
Arroyo was previously a city councilor and ran for mayor in 2013.