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Tuolumne Supervisors Seeking New Public Health Chief

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Sonora, CA – The search will shortly be on for a new Tuolumne County Chief Health Officer following the recently submitted resignation of Dr. Liza Ortiz.

According to the documents for next Wednesday’s supervisors meeting, an item has been added to the agenda to address a recruitment plan to recruit and appoint a replacement that includes finding an interim licensed physician to fill the post, as required by law. Submitted by Human Services Agency Director Ann Connolly and Assistant Director Steve Boyack, the background summary simply states that Dr. Ortiz had resigned her position June 21.

Reaching out to them and Dr. Ortiz on Friday for more details Clarke Broadcasting was able to speak with Boyack. He indicated that Dr. Ortiz was currently out of the office but would be returning next week. He also shared that in her resignation letter she states her last day on the job will be August 31 and verified that the reasons for her departure are strictly her own.

Two Years On The Job

Ortiz was named Tuolumne County’s Chief Health Officer in February 2015 and began work that April. In an interview with Clarke Broadcasting during her first week she confided that her career path focus was becoming a public health officer for a municipality. A native of Chicago where she practiced as a primary care physician, she completed her residency in preventative medicine at UC San Diego.

Jurisdictional health officers are responsible for enforcing local health orders and ordinances as well as state public health regulations and statutes. Considered community points of contact, they provide leadership and are chief responders during public health emergencies. The county’s current salary range for a public health officer is $80.65-$98.46/hour.

In the meeting documents, Connolly and Boyack estimate a recruitment, selection, and hiring process that targets a goal of late October for having a new chief health officer in place.

According to their proposal, applicants for the position would undergo an initial screening by the HR Manager and CAO after which selected candidates will interview with a peer panel for technical competence as well as a panel comprised of county government officials and health representatives from Adventist Health Sonora to assess their “fit” with the local community. Following board interviews, a selection of the top candidate for final appointment would then pend upon the successful completion of background and reference checks and a physical exam.