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Felix Arroyo tapped to be health chief

Mayoral candidates Martin Walsh and Felix Arroyo shook hands on Oct. 30, before the election.

Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

Mayoral candidates Martin Walsh and Felix Arroyo shook hands on Oct. 30, before the election.

On the weekend before he was to be sworn in as mayor of Boston, Martin J. Walsh revealed the appointment of two top advisers and filled the two vacancies in the Boston School Committee.

Walsh, who will be inaugurated as mayor Monday morning, named outgoing City Councilor Felix G. Arroyo as chief of health and human services, the first Cabinet-level position in the new administration to be announced.

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The appointment of Arroyo, who did not seek reelection to the council this year so he could mount a mayoral bid, comes one day after Walsh named Daniel Arrigg Koh, a former adviser to outgoing Mayor Thomas M. Menino, as his chief of staff.

“Felix brings a wealth of knowledge and City of Boston experience to my administration,” Walsh said in a statement. “Felix knows how to bring people together and work collaboratively. He values and understands the importance of directly addressing the needs of Boston’s most vulnerable residents, and he will have a huge impact on our city in this role.”

Arroyo, a popular citywide councilor first elected in 2009, has served as a cochairman of Walsh’s transition team. He said he was excited to be a part of the new administration.

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Born in the South End and raised in Hyde Park, Arroyo has previously worked as an organizer and political director at the Service Employees International Union Local 615 and the New England field director for Healthcare for America Now.

After being eliminated in the mayoral preliminary vote, Arroyo was one of three former candidates of color whose enthusiastic endorsements of Walsh helped propel him to his eventual victory over City Councilor John R. Connolly.

During a Sunday morning interview that aired on WCVB, Walsh said he has yet to talk with the other two — John Barros and Charlotte Golar Richie — about potential appointments to his administration.

Arroyo replaces Daphne Griffin, a Menino appointee who resigned from the position in November.

Moments before announcing Arroyo’s position within the administration, Walsh said he will reappoint Dr. Hardin L.K. Coleman, who is dean of Boston’s University’s College of Education, to his spot on the School Committee and will replace Mary Tamer — who was a vocal supporter of Connolly — with Michael Loconto, a labor relations attorney with a child in the school system.

“Michael is passionate about using his skills to serve the community, and he recognizes that education is critical to the well-being of Boston residents and businesses,” Walsh said in a statement. “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 reengage with other Boston families who have chosen private or charter options.”

Loconto is active in the Beethoven School Parent Council and a member of the ONEin3 Boston mayor’s advisory council, and he has been involved with West Roxbury Main Streets, according to Walsh’s announcement.

At a brunch Sunday with seniors, where Walsh was joined by his mother, Mary, the mayor-elect vowed to continue his predecessor’s focus on providing services to seniors and announced Menino appointee Emily Shea will stay on as his commissioner of elderly affairs.

Speaking to reporters at the event, Walsh said he will make more Cabinet designations later this week. “Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we’ll be making some more,” he said.

Joshua Miller of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Wesley Lowery can be reached at wesley.lowery@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @WesleyLowery.
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