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County to consider revamping public health

PENDLETON, Oregon – Umatilla County Public Health Administrator Jim Setzer resigned this week. Board of Commissioners Chairman George Murdock oversees public health and says it’s hard for rural counties to fill those positions. He thinks there might be a better way of running things instead of constantly trying to fill a position with few applicants.

“I think it was Einstein that said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” he said. “Maybe it’s time for us to look at something different.”

Murdock said the resignation earlier this week is a signal to him to do some thinking. Setzer has been with the county for about a year and a half, and is the third public health administrator to fill the post in Murdock’s time on the board. He said when he looked at the department as a whole, he began to consider not having one person at the helm.

“We have several supervisors right below Jim that are highly capable individuals,” he said. “We may find a way to reorganize the staff.”

Setzer has worked around the world, primarily as a researcher and epidemiologist. Murdock says they have become close friends and, in addition to re-thinking the health department, he will be putting thought into ways he could keep Setzer in Pendleton when he steps down as administrator.

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