Aug 30, 2023 - Health

New details emerge about Allison Arwady firing

Photo of a woman talking in front of a microphone.

Dr. Allison Arwady. Photo: Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Mayor Brandon Johnson's floor leader says Allison Arwady was fired as health commissioner because of misaligned views on public health and a perceived back-channel campaign to keep her job.

Why it matters: Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa's account counters widespread speculation that Johnson fired Arwady for her stance on reopening schools during the 2022 standoff between CPS and the CTU.

What he's saying: "It is wholly inappropriate for a mayoral appointee … to engage in a public campaign to force the mayor to keep them," Ramiriez-Rosa said last week on "The Ben Joravsky Show," which former Tribune columnist Eric Zorn highlighted in his Substack.

Between the lines: The alderperson alleges that Arwady got the Chicago Board of Health to write a letter to the mayor supporting her, which he called the "final nail in the coffin."

  • He also cited Arwady's "neoliberal" approach to public health — demonstrated by not reopening city mental health clinics and instead funding public-private facilities — as a big issue.

What's more: The alderman claims Arwady did not "reach out" to the mayor to discuss next steps after he took office.

The other side: Arwady has said Johnson never reached out to her either, even after telling WBEZ that he valued her expertise and looked "forward to sitting down with" her.

  • She didn't immediately respond to Axios' requests for comment yesterday.

The bottom line: With Johnson's continued silence on the issue, this may be the closest we'll get to an official explanation.

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