Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Rural county's entire health department staff resigns over lack of support from county government during pandemic

Pondera County, Montana
(Wikipedia map)
The Pondera County Health Department in Montana has four employees, and all of them have resigned in desperation, citing lack of support from the county commissioners during the pandemic, Liz Carey reports for The Daily Yonder. The move, effective Nov. 27, would leave a gaping hole in the local health-care system that would be hard to fill as coronavirus cases surge in the county of just over 6,000.

Nicki Sullivan, who was the department's director, wrote in her resignation letter that the decision was the hardest of her life, and that helping families brings her joy. But "Sullivan said she was most concerned with the commissioners’ lack of support for her and her department," Carey reports. "In her letter, she cited the lack of help doing contact tracing and being able to hire people to fill positions that would help with contact tracing.

The decision wasn't out of the blue: Sullivan sent the commissioners a letter Oct. 29 saying they needed to address issues that made her job impossible, and if they did, she would "consider staying." Otherwise, she implied that she would leave, and said it would be difficult for the next director to do a good job unless the commissioners address the problems, Carey reports.

Between Oct. 20 and Nov. 2, the other three employees resigned in solidarity, also effective Nov. 27, Carey reports.

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