County health chief resigns, cites meddling, funding woes |

County health chief resigns, cites meddling, funding woes

Citing micromanagement from Nevada County leaders and a lack of funding, Department of Community Health Director Hank Foley announced his resignation today.

“I decided I didn’t have the stomach for it anymore,” Foley said. “The county bureaucratic system is more into control than service.”

Foley said the department’s resources have dwindled in the past decade and the uncertainty of year-to-year funding made it increasingly difficult to plan. He said his department was not alone and that “other programs across the board,” were suffering from the same frustrations.

Foley did not name names, and would not pin his frustrations solely on the board of supervisors.

“It’s the whole structure,” Foley said. “Micromanaging goes on endlessly in this county.”

Assistant County Executive Officer Laura Matteson said she understood Foley’s concern about running a department with dwindling tax funds. But the funds for his department come from the state and the decrease was due to a dwindling economy, she said, not county moves.

Matteson said Foley’s department went from 43 to 37 positions this year ” five of them when the county decided to shift clinic operations to the Miners Clinic ” and that may have fueled his frustrations.

“It’s harder to operate a department under these conditions,” Matteson said. But many potential county job layoffs were averted through attrition and an evaluation earlier this year of which were most important to the public.

Foley, 64, served here the past two years and was director of the U.S. Health Resources Administration under President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s.

“It was less bureaucratic in Washington D.C. than what I found here,” Foley said.

The director said he plans to officially resign July 31, after which he will take several months off to rest and contemplate the future. Foley said he was proud of the people he served with in the health department and wished them well.

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