County urges health officer to stay in job |

County urges health officer to stay in job

The search to replace Nevada County Public Health Officer Ken Cutler is temporarily on hold while officials try to convince him to stay.

“Maybe there is some way he can stay. I like him, staff likes him … He’s done a fine job for us,” County Executive Officer Rick Haffey said.

He is scheduled to meet with Cutler today.

Cutler, whose last day is March 12, said last week he is leaving to spend more time with his family.

Though he was recently the target of criticism for refusing to name three Truckee restaurants that served recalled beef potentially tainted by mad cow disease, Cutler said his decision to leave has nothing to with that.

If Cutler does not agree to stay, the recruitment process to replace him will move forward, Haffey said.

Haffey has been the subject of some criticism because of the departure of a number of department heads since he took office in January 2003. However, a recent study contradicts that, he said.

“I did some research because it was getting a little depressing hearing people were leaving,” Haffey said.

Fewer people have left under Haffey’s first year of administration – Cutler being the ninth – compared to his predecessor Ted Gaebler, who had 11 people leave in his first year and 22 over the span of his three years as Nevada County executive officer.

District 1 Supervisor Peter Van Zant said he is concerned that the county is losing well-trained people, but to single Haffey out is wrong. He works for the board and implements policy, Van Zant said.

“If the board is clear, even-handed and supportive of staff, then you have a winning team. (Haffey) works under a lot of pressure … and he’s doing a good job,” Van Zant said. “He keeps the lights on and the county humming.”

If people are leaving, you have to look at everybody within the county structure, from board members to people in senior ranks, Van Zant said.

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