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Finding New Health Officer Could Be Tough Task

Sonora, CA — The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors signed off on the process for finding a new county health officer, following the resignation of Dr. Liza Ortiz.

The county’s Health and Human Services Agency Director Ann Connolly told the supervisors this morning that the estimated cost for recruiting a replacement, including contracting with an outside firm, is in the ballpark of $5,000-$7,000.

Applications will be screened by the county’s HR Manager and CAO. The top finalists will be interviewed by a pair of initial panels. One will be technical experts, and will likely include a county health officer from an outside county, a former county health officer, the health and human services agency director, and the county counsel. A second panel will be more focused on the prospective candidates “fit” in the community, and will likely include local partners like Adventist Health, the county’s office of education, sheriff’s office and office of emergency services.

The board of supervisors will then receive the feedback from the interviews, and conduct their own closed session interviews with finalists.

Dr. Ortiz’s resignation is effective August 31st, so the county is planning to appoint an interim health officer prior to her exit. The supervisors would ideally like to hire a permanent replacement by the end of October.

District Four Supervisor John Gray questioned Connolly as to how many candidates applied when Dr. Ortiz was selected, to which Connolly replied, “only two.” She noted that it can be a very difficult position to fill, and the current timeline is “aggressive.”

The county health officer works an estimated 32 hours per week and receives around $162,000. The health officer is required to be on-call, however, 24/7.

Dr. Ortiz was hired in early 2015 to replace longtime health officer, Dr. Todd Stolp.