Former Boston Mayor Marty Walsh visited the city on Monday for the first time since becoming the U.S. Secretary of Labor, and admitted, when asked by reporters, that he feels badly about his controversial appointment of Dennis White as Boston Police Commissioner.
“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “It’s just, you know, the one situation that I feel bad about is the Dennis White situation.”
Walsh responded to questions about White at a Copley Square press conference in support of “Paid Leave for All,” a campaign for national paid family and medical leave.
White was sworn in in February to replace William Gross, who abruptly retired in late January. Just two days later, Walsh put him on administrative leave when 1999 allegations of domestic violence resurfaced. Acting Mayor Kim Janey ultimately fired him in June. White is now suing Boston and Janey for improper termination, partly on the grounds of discrimination.
When asked about the challenges he left for his successor to handle, Walsh said that it comes with the transfer of power.
“First of all, I didn’t realize that I was going to be asked to be secretary of labor. So, no matter when the transition is, it is going to happen,” he said. “It happened with me, from Tom Menino to me, and me to Kim [Janey], and from whoever is after Kim.”
Walsh added that he couldn’t resolve the issue before he left for Washington.
“I made it very clear I wanted to resolve that situation before I left. And unfortunately, wasn’t able to,” he said. “But, you know, Kim took action. I watched what she did. And now there’s a search for a commissioner. And that’s the right way to go.”
When asked about criticism from Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins of his handling of White’s appointment, Walsh said, “You know, politics, politics. She’s my friend. And I wish her well in the process moving forward.”
The news conference outside the Boston Library Walsh, along with Janey, Massachusetts State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, City Councilor Matt O’Malley and others was held in support of 12 weeks of comprehensive paid family and medical leave for every U.S. worker.
“The evidence is clear,” Walsh said. “Paid family leave makes families stronger, makes our workforce stronger, and makes our businesses stronger. It’s essential to a healthy economy and it’s essential for gender and racial equity.”
The former mayor said last time he had a press conference at Copley Square, he was talking about First Night and was singing songs for Christmastime.
Read the full story from WGBH.