Honorable public official doesn’t deserve suspicion

Joyce Ferriabough Bolling
Friday, February 24, 2017

For those of us who know and have long appreciated the work of Felix D. Arroyo, it is not surprising that his first focus after taking over the Suffolk County probate registry was to boost customer service and diversity before he untangled the rest of the mess.

And what a mess it was before Felix came aboard, after his predecessor was forced out for punching one staffer and bullying others. Now he is under suspension himself pending an investigation into allegations of mismanagement.

It is no surprise that there would be pushback against Felix within the troubled office, because employees have been used to a culture of turmoil.

It is easy to question why this should or should not be an elected post. But for now, it is what it is. Felix was duly elected as probate register because many believed he could bring much-needed change to the office.

Those who know Felix understand that he has always been a fix-it person, and a catalyst for bringing people of all ethnicities together.

He started the state’s first Hispanic commission and worked closely with state Sen. Royal Bolling and state Rep. Mel King to bring meaningful results to support the needs of a growing and, in many instances, underserved population, while at the same time fostering greater communication between black and brown communities.

Felix is a role model to his boys, and his son Felix followed in his dad’s public service footsteps. The elder Arroyo broke an important barrier serving as the first Hispanic on the Boston City Council. Son Felix, who was the second, now works as chief of health and human services in Mayor Marty Walsh’s administration.

Felix D. Arroyo is a bona fide, respected community leader. He in no way deserves to be cast under the shadow of suspicion in full public view without an explanation.

One thing’s for sure, Felix’s reputation has been damaged and his integrity, which is highly regarded, has been impugned. That is so unfair and so wrong on many levels. Felix’s attorney, Walter Prince, and many in the community are demanding answers.

One has to wonder how this came to be played out in the press in the first place — and why it is cloaked in rules against disclosure. Felix and his attorney are demanding the reasons for his suspension, so the public can judge. That’s always a challenge. But the light of day is always the best disinfectant.