Letter to the Editor: Termination of County Public Health Director puts politics before community well-being

To the editor,

I was shocked and enraged to learn about the recent termination of Emily Elliot Brown from her position as Director of Rio Grande County’s Public Health Department. I cannot imagine what possible justification there could be for our Board of County Commissioners to let such an incredible leader go in the middle of a public health crisis. With her gone that leaves our county, along with all the counties around us, without knowledgeable leadership on the public health front. This is truly shocking and deeply disappointing.

I have known Emily since I moved to Del Norte several years ago, and I cannot imagine a more steadfast, intelligent, thoughtful, efficient, consistent and kind individual, and anyone more capable of helping guide our County through this COVID-19 chaos. Emily demonstrated incredible leadership from day one of this pandemic, and I cannot imagine any sane person evaluating the job she has done as anything less than commendable.

I fear that this decision was politically motivated and did not take into account the health and well-being of the citizens of Rio Grande County or the San Luis Valley. I am angry and disappointed, and the Board of Commissioners can rest assured that my displeasure in the handling of this situation will be reflected in my vote in the upcoming election. I urge others with similar concerns to make sure their voices are also heard when it comes time to cast our votes.

Amy Lin Engle
Del Nore