GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The health director for the City of Greenfield has resigned stating public scrutiny has taken an emotional toll since taking on the role in 2020.
According to a news release sent to 22News from the Greenfield Mayor’s Office, Health Director Jennifer Hoffman submitted a resignation letter to Mayor Roxann Wedegartner which gives a two-week notice with a description of what she faced while “working with the public under constant scrutiny.”
Hoffman became interim health director in September 2020 following Valerie Bird’s retirement during the coronavirus pandemic. She became the city’s health department as its full-time director in February 2021. During her three-year career in the city, she provided her knowledge to monitor the community’s health, provided COVID-19 vaccination clinics, promoted programs, and guided the food and home inspection processes.
In addition, she pursued a multi-year grant totaling $425,000 called the Public Health Excellence Grant, allowing Greenfield’s public health initiatives to extend into Montague, Deerfield, Sunderland, Leverett and Shutesbury.
In a letter sent to Mayor Wedegartner, Hoffman stated her reasons for leaving, “As director, I had the privilege of leading the department to provide restaurant safety, protect against national food illness outbreaks, home inspections and making homeowners compliant, working on a Portland-Loo for a public restroom, homeless and sheltering efforts, collaborating with partner agencies, as well as supporting the immigrants joining our community and providing them with public health support.”
“Despite all of this, I am stepping down from this role effective October 20, 2023. The emotional toll it has taken on me was great. Working with the public under constant scrutiny is very challenging,” said Hoffman. She stated that “six people” were “harassing, abusive, manipulative and downright disrespectful and rude.”
As the city pursues its search for a replacement, Hoffman’s last day as health director is Friday, October 20.
“I am incredibly saddened by Director Hoffman’s resignation. Her work for the city has been so valuable in building an effective and professional health department that works daily to support public health and inspections. She and her staff have provided consistent public health protections while also helping many of the people they encounter find solutions to their particular health safety issues,” said Mayor Wedegartner.
“Director Hoffman is not alone in her frustration at the often relentless scrutiny, incivility and petty criticisms of employees in our city who do their jobs daily on behalf of our residents. It is an epidemic affecting people who work in public service today,” added Wedegartner.
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