Second Interim RGC Public Health Director resigns


RIO GRANDE COUNTY – For the second time during the past five months a Rio Grande County interim health director has resigned.


The second interim health director, Toni Steffens-Steward, resigned Tuesday, Sept. 8, according to County Commissioner John Noffsker. Noffsker stated to Valley Publishing that County Commissioners were working on a statement that was not available by press time.


On May 22, Emily Brown, Director of Public Health for Rio Grande County was fired by the Rio Grande County commissioners resulting in an uproar by many residents in the county. Among the reasons for her firing county commissioners cited a lack of providing timely information.


Richard Paul Wertz was hired as the interim public health director after Brown’s dismissal. Wertz resigned July 9 citing in his resignation letter to the county commissioners, “After our meeting yesterday and much thought, I have concluded that I do not have the board’s support. Therefore, I hereby resign as Interim Director of Public Health, effective immediately.”


Valley Publishing has reached out to Steffens-Steward for the reasons of her resignation but was unable obtain a response by press time. Steffens-Steward advised the Rio Grande County Commissioners to allow her to handle the interim position while the board sought a new director. The board is still in the process of accepting applications for the open position and have requested state assistance in completing a department wide audit before deciding how to move forward with Rio Grande Public Health.

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