Marty Martinez, Boston’s health and human services chief who has spearheaded the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic for more than a year-and-a-half, is leaving his Cabinet post this week.
Martinez, a fixture at pandemic-related City Hall announcements and news conferences since COVID’s emergence in March 2020 and a crucial figure in shaping the city’s policy response to the public health emergency, made the announcement in a Monday e-mail.
“I recognize that these past few years have been challenging to say the least, but even in the face of this adversity we were able to touch the lives of so many Bostonians — whether it was by providing them access to food, helping them stay in their homes, getting them the treatment and support they need, or creating pathways for them to get vaccinated and protect themselves from COVID-19,” he said in a statement.
Martinez, who served as the city’s health chief for four years, is the latest City Hall departure in what has been a year of upheaval and transition under three different mayors: Martin J. Walsh, Kim Janey, and now Michelle Wu.
There was an exodus of City Hall leaders in the transition from Walsh to Janey earlier this year, and there are still some questions as to who will permanently fill out certain posts in Wu’s Cabinet. Wu only had a 2-week turnaround from her election to her swearing-in. Typically, incoming mayors aren’t sworn-in until the January after the general election.
Amid the transition between administrations, the Boston Public Health Commission’s executive director, Dr. Bisola Ojikutu will take on “all things health” that were within the health and human services portfolio, according to Martinez’s announcement. He added that, “The Administration is working to transition leadership of the human services portion of my work.”
“My plans are to remain in Boston and remain active in the community, as there is still much work to be done on the road to equity and social justice,” said Martinez in a statement.