Two Washoe County commissioners said Friday they don’t know why Washoe District Health Officer Kevin Dick fired the district’s directory of epidemiology but said they found the timing odd.
To date, no one has given an explanation for why Dick asked Dr. Randall Todd to resign from the position he had for 14 years.
“Obviously Dr. Todd’s departure was unique in the midst of a pandemic,” Commission Chairman Bob Lucey said. “I can’t speak to why Mr. Dick decided to make that decision.”
Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler, who sits on the board of health, was similarly perplexed.
“I really don’t have any sense as to why or what was going on,” Berkbigler said. “I do think it’s a little odd to fire your epidemiologist in the middle of a bad virus. Maybe he just thought he’s the director so he gets to do what he wants to do.”
Todd’s last day as director of epidemiology was May 1. He said Dick asked him to resign, so he decided to retire. He said Dick did not give him a reason.
Dick has declined to comment on his decision, citing advice from the human resources department.
Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick on the retirement of its chief epidemilogist Reno Gazette Journal
Dick said he will work with other managers in the division to try recruiting someone to fill the position, acknowledging that epidemiologists are in high demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lucey said he doesn’t believe Dick’s decision has hampered the district’s ability to respond to the pandemic.
“I know they have a good staff of epidemiologists on board, so I do feel we are getting a wealth of information from those epidemiologists and have great support,” he said.
Anjeanette Damon is the government watchdog reporter for the RGJ. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @AnjeanetteDamon. If you care about shining a bright light on decisions made by your elected officials, please consider subscribing to the Reno Gazette Journal.
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