BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Massachusetts’ chief advocate for the deaf has been fired following a state investigation into his connections to a college fraternity known for wearing robes resembling those of the Ku Klux Klan and making Nazi-like salutes.
Steven Florio, who had been head of the state Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing since February 2019, was issued a letter of termination effective Oct. 19, a spokesperson for the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services told WBZ-TV.READ MORE: UMass To Unveil Statues Of Erving, Camby, Leaman And Calipari
Florio was placed on leave in July after acknowledging he was a member of Kappa Gamma fraternity while attending Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., a school for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Florio told commission staff that he made Nazi-like salutes while wearing KKK-like garb during his time at the college three decades ago, according to a letter from the union that represents commission employees sent to Gov. Charlie Baker.
Florio also disavowed his past affiliation with the fraternity.READ MORE: Celebrating And Commemorating Juneteenth: Words From Local Lawmakers
The union said it was concerned by the “culture of fear and uncertainty” at the commission.
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Patricia Ford, the agency’s deputy commissioner, will continue to serve as the commission’s acting leader pending a search for a new commissioner.
Florio was the director of the Rhode Island Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing for 16 years before being named to the Massachusetts position.MORE NEWS: Oil Spill Settlement To Fund Loon Conservation Projects
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)