Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
A day after California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angell announced her resignation, California Governor Gavin Newsom and California Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly faced questions from the press regarding the circumstances of her departure amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Ghaly commended Angell, thanking her for her "tremendous work over the past many months."
"Her smarts around disparities and thinking about inequality is something that will support and mark the state in many long-lasting ways," he added. "I'm grateful for her service."
Concerns nevertheless abounded for the reasons behind Angell's departure, with several reporters noting that during continuing outbreaks and widespread case data reporting errors, the timing of the announcement is concerning. Newsom declined to comment further on the reasons for the resignation, saying, "I try not to have personnel conversations in public."
"At the end of the day, the buck stops with me," he continued. "I'm accountable as governor of the state of California as it extends to my team and their effort to keep you safe [and] healthy as it relates to the spread of this disease. It's one of those different things when someone leaves, that you consider a friend [and] a champion for racial and social justice ... We're moving on."
When further pressed, Newsom was steadfast, saying that Angell resigned and he accepted it. He nodded to a frustration in combating technology errors which had caused misreporting in COVID-19 case data across the state over the last several weeks, but did not explicitly disclose any specific reasons for the mistakes.
"We're all accountable in respective roles for what happens underneath us," he said. "If it's not obvious I encourage you to consider the fact that we accepted the resignation, we appreciate her work, [and] we all have a role and responsibility about what happens in our respective departments. Technology is always stubborn and a challenge. All of these things are being assessed and considered in relationship to what we're doing going forward. To the extent [someone] does resign, we accept it if it’s appropriate."
State officials announced Monday that Sandra Shewry will become the Acting California Department of Public Health Director and Dr. Erica Pan will be appointed as Acting State Public Health Officer.
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Alyssa Pereira is a culture editor at SFGate. Email: [email protected] | Twitter: @alyspereira