Former Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley has been hired as a top-level official by the Washington, D.C., Health Department.
According to DC Health, Farley started Monday as the senior deputy director for the Community Health Administration.
“Dr. Farley’s skillset will allow DC Health to continue its vision to become the healthiest city in America,” a spokesperson for the department said in a statement.
The Black Lives Matter DC group posted a screenshot of a release announcing Farley’s hire on Twitter. The announcement hailed Farley’s track record of implementing systemwide public health initiatives that have sparked environmental change and initiatives he has led focused on obesity, healthy eating, childhood asthma, gun violence, and the opioid epidemic.
On its Twitter account, the BLM DC group called Farley a “monster” and said that hiring him “highlights the intentional expansion of an admin where #BlackLivesMatter less.”
The group called out Mayor Muriel Bowser, asking if she was planning to take photos with Farley at recently named Black Lives Matter Plaza, and arguing his hiring legitimizes violence against Black people. They said he should not be allowed to hold any position in city government.
🚨URGENT🚨@DCHealth just hired Dr. #ThomasFarley as Senior DD for the Community Health Admin.— Black Lives Matter DC (@DMVBlackLives) November 9, 2021
The same man who admitted he ordered the cremation and disposal of the remains of MOVE bombing victims in Philly!!
THIS SHIT NEEDS TO BE SHUT DOWN NOW! @MikeAfricaJr1 @OnaMOVE_ pic.twitter.com/RZzlQGernO
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney asked Farley to resign in May of this year after he admitted to ordering the remains of some victims of the 1985 MOVE bombing be destroyed back in 2017, without notifying the family. Farley said he was following protocol at the time, and that the forensic investigation had been completed. The Philadelphia Inquirer later reported that a subordinate had not followed through on the destruction of the remains, and they were later returned to the Africa family.
The Black radical liberation group was outraged, and an investigation into the handling of the remains is ongoing. Newly appointed Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole noted that incorporating the findings of the investigation into the department’s operational would be among her first priorities.
Farley had also been at the helm of the department as it selected Philly Fighting COVID, a nine-month-old startup group led by graduate students with no professional medical experience, to be the face of its public vaccination campaign.
The city of Washington describes the Office of Community Health Administration, which Farley now runs, as working to promote “healthy behaviors and healthy environments to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities in the leading causes of disease and death in the District,” according to the DC Health website.
Representatives for DC Health did not answer questions about how Farley’s departure in Philadelphia factored into its hiring decision. Mayor Bowser did not immediately respond to a request for comment.