Mayor-elect Walsh names health chief and School Committee picks

Marty Walsh spent the weekend transitioning from the State House to City Hall, tapping a former rival as his health and human services chief and a young media maven as his chief of staff. He also filled two slots on the School Committee. Here’s a look at the some of the appointments over the last several days.

CHIEF OF STAFF: Daniel Arrigg Koh, who has worked for Arianna Huffington and her website, the Huffington Post, will be Walsh's chief of staff. An Andover native who briefly contemplated running for state representative, he is largely unknown in Boston political circles. He is the son of Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health and human services under President Obama. Walsh told the Reporter in November that he was looking for a chief of staff who is a “good listener” with “compassion for people,” but also someone who is willing to say “no” to people. Just before Christmas, Walsh said he was taking his time with picking a chief of staff because he wanted to make sure he mixed well with the person. “That’s the person you’re probably going to spend the most time with of anyone in City Hall, and you want to make sure they have the same values that I have and the same understanding of how I want to move the city forward and the same vision,” he said. Koh is on Twitter at

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Outgoing At-Large City Councillor Felix G. Arroyo will start in his new job on Jan. 6. Arroyo, who was elected to the City Council in 2009, endorsed Walsh in the general election and is serving on the transition team. “We’ve had many conversations after the campaign, and that’s his passion,” Walsh said on WCVB’s “On the Record,” a political chat show that airs Sunday. “His passion’s around young people, his passion’s around disparities and health disparities, the communities and neighborhoods.” Arroyo, the son of former City Councillor At-Large Felix D. Arroyo, lives in Jamaica Plain. He has worked for SEIU 615 and former City Councillor Chuck Turner. Arroyo is on Twitter at

STILL TO BE FILLED: School superintendent, fire chief, and head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, a planning and development agency Walsh has pledged to revamp. Those are among the top jobs Walsh still has to fill. Sheila Dillon, Mayor Thomas Menino’s chief of housing and director of neighborhood development, plans to stay on. A number of people are sticking around, holding interim positions for now as Walsh continues his transition into City Hall. William Evans stepped in after Police Commissioner Ed Davis left his post last year. Walsh told WCVB that he is working on filling the job of police chief. Asked if he plans to have a big search, Walsh said, “Not necessarily, because we have some great talent inside the police department.” Evans has expressed interest in keeping the job. Walsh also has an interim “snow czar,” Mike Dennehy, a public works department employee who takes over for Elmo Baldassari. Asked if he has any plans to bring on Charlotte Golar Richie and John Barros, two other rivals that endorsed him over City Councillor At-Large John Connolly in the general election, Walsh told WCVB, “No, we have had not any discussions about it, to date.” He added: “I know that when they both helped me in the campaign, there was no quid pro quo. We didn’t talk about it at all.” Walsh said both Barros and Golar Richie have been “very involved” in the transition. Could he entice a few of his former colleagues at the State House to join his administration? “Maybe,” Walsh said, acknowledging that he has talked with a few of them about jobs.

SCHOOL COMMITTEE: Walsh has appointed two members to the 7-member School Committee, filling two slots that had expired. He will swear them in on Monday afternoon. Hardin Coleman, who was appointed by Mayor Menino to fill John Barros’s slot in 2013 after Barros left to run for mayor, is returning to the School Committee. A Kenmore Square resident, Coleman co-chaired an overhaul of the school assignment system before Menino tapped him for the committee. “Hardin has a broad understanding of education at all levels and of the barriers to academic success, such as poverty and cultural differences,” Walsh said in a statement. “He has dedicated his career to finding pathways to improving academic performance for culturally diverse students. His experience and knowledge base will be a huge asset to the Boston Public Schools.” Michael Loconto, a West Roxbury attorney, is the other Walsh appointment to the committee, filling the slot of Mary Tamer, who supported John Connolly in the mayoral election. Loconto is part of the Beethoven School Parent Council and the ONEin3 Boston Mayor’s Advisory Council, a group focused on keeping young people in the city. “He brings a unique perspective to the board as a Boston Public Schools parent. Michael understands the challenges we face now, and he wants to not only keep Boston families here, but to entice new families to move to Boston and to re-engage with other Boston families who have chosen private or charter options,” Walsh said. “We need his voice on our School Committee.” Coleman and Loconto will serve four year terms. Loconto is on Twitter at The School Committee is chaired by Michael O’Neill, whose term expires Jan. 2017. Claudio Martinez, whose term expires in Jan. 2016, is the vice chair. The other members include Meg Campbell (Jan. 2016); Rev. Gregory Groover (Jan. 2015) and Margaret McKenna (Jan. 2015).


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