Both McCumber and Rego voiced a desire to fill the position quickly. In the interim, McCumber said the human services department has agreed to take on some of the work to offer relief to those remaining at the health department. The goal is to search no longer than 60 days for a new health officer.
Rego said the staff at the health department is “fantastic” and has confidence they will perform well during the absence of a director.
Lawther said in a phone interview Tuesday that he also knows the county health professionals will do well.
“I think the team is absolutely fabulous,” Lawther said. “They’re doing great work already and I think they will continue to do that no matter who the leader is.”
As for those standing in opposition to the department, Lawther said he knows it’s “a very vocal minority” which is making success difficult. Lawther wrote in his resignation letter that he was hopeful when he started with the department in August 2019 that he could focus on multiple issues to make life safer and improved for the general public, but that didn’t happen.
“I was especially excited to take a deeper look, through a public health lens, into the local policies that far too often sustain poverty, the cycle of incarceration, racism, sexism, homophobia, and so many other threats to our community,” Lawther wrote. “Instead, multiple County leadership decisions have made it clear that meaningful dialogue with public health is neither being sought nor being heard.”