Plumas County Public Health Agency Director Mimi Hall formally withdrew her resignation Wednesday, April 18.
A month after reading an emotional resignation letter during a Board of Supervisors meeting, Hall sent a letter to the supervisors saying she wanted to come back, if they would have her.
“Two things that have not changed are my love for the Plumas County community and my desire to contribute to our residents through my dedication and expertise as a public health professional,” Hall wrote in the letter to the board.
But two things have changed in the month since Hall resigned. The supervisors ousted county administrative officer Jack Ingstad April 10, and the nonprofit health care organization that hired Hall was sold.
Hall said she decided not to accept a job with Dignity Health’s Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Reno. On March 30, Saint Mary’s was purchased by Prime Healthcare Services, which has a for-profit business model.
Hall said the change wouldn’t eliminate her job. But she said it wouldn’t be the same job she agreed to accept.
“My department (at Saint Mary’s) would remain intact,” Hall said. “But, in my eyes, the organization will be changing dramatically in structure and culture.”
It was the culture within Plumas County’s administration that prompted Hall’s resignation. Hall cited Ingstad’s treatment of county employees for creating a “toxic” work environment.
Hall, who was praised by the supervisors for her effort to bring back alcohol and drug services to the county, said she received “a tremendous amount” of public support in the weeks following her resignation.
“I was overwhelmed,” she said. “There were emails, phone messages. I really couldn’t believe it.”
Hall said her decision to rescind her resignation began forming Monday, April 16.
She said she had second thoughts after going through a disappointing full-day orientation for her new position at Saint Mary’s.
Later that evening, she received a phone message from Supervisor Lori Simpson asking Hall to “seriously reconsider” her resignation.
The Board of Supervisors never formally accepted Hall’s resignation. But Hall said the board didn’t ask her to reconsider, either … until Simpson’s message.
“Lori’s message said, ‘Please, is there anything we can do?’” Hall said. “She asked me to reconsider. Nobody on the board had said that until then.
“Until I got that message, I think I would still have gone to work for Dignity (Health).”
Hall and Simpson met for a long talk Wednesday, April 18. Hall said that conversation cemented her decision to withdraw her resignation.
Simpson tried to downplay her role in helping Hall change her mind. She said she merely told Hall what many people in the county were already saying. She said she received many emails and calls from constituents who wanted Hall to return.
“The messages I was getting were pretty clear,” Simpson said. “But I planned to call Mimi all along. I figured I would give it one more shot. ... I believe it was fate.”
According to the law, Hall should be able to keep her county job without any action from the Board of Supervisors.
Except for a two-week vacation to tend to her father, who is terminally ill, Hall has remained on the job.
Her county position took on added importance last summer, after she was appointed by the supervisors to become the county’s alcohol and drug administrator.
The county hasn’t had an A&D program since 2008. It was shut down after the county deemed it to be dysfunctional because of personnel problems and annual half-million-dollar budget deficits.
Plumas is the only county in California without a state-sponsored alcohol and drug program. In addition to a loss of critical services, the county hasn’t been able to use $500,000 in state funding available for A&D support.
Plumas County Superior Court Judge Ira Kaufman has strongly criticized the county for prompting Hall to leave.
He said Hall has done an “outstanding job” resurrecting the A&D program. Without those vital services, judges have not been able to render alternative split sentences that are an essential component of the Assembly Bill 109 inmate realignment.
Instead, all of the sentences are being served in the 67-bed county jail, which is quickly approaching its capacity.
Kaufman said he was excited at the prospect of Hall returning.
“I’m very pleased about it,” Kaufman said. “Now we have got to give her free reign to do what she has been doing and what needs to be done.
“Mimi is very good at what she does. And she shares my vision of the services that the county needs to be providing.”
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