Connecticut Governor Fires Health Commissioner

May 12, 2020 Updated: May 12, 2020

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont fired state Health Commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchell amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lamont didn’t say why he fired the state’s top health official.

“I appreciate Commissioner Coleman-Mitchell’s willingness to join my administration and lead one of our most vital state agencies, which is responsible for overseeing so many critical public health needs,” the Democrat said in a statement.

“Her service over the last year has been a great deal of help, particularly in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic that has brought disruption to many throughout the world. I thank her for her advocacy on behalf of the health and safety of our residents, and for being a dedicated partner in service to the State of Connecticut.”

Deidre Gifford, the commissioner of the Department of Social Services, was shifted to become the acting commissioner of the Department of Public Health.

A statement from Gifford was released by the governor’s office.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has required every state agency to even more closely align with each other and sync our operations to deliver a coordinated response for the people of Connecticut. I am determined to continue these efforts for the duration of our emergency response and beyond,” she said.

The announcement included no statement from Coleman-Mitchell, who recently clashed with a top health official, Susan Roman.

Roman said in a March 6 resignation letter that she was subjected to racial discrimination and abusive behavior.

“Working for Commissioner Coleman-Mitchell has been an incredible disappointment for me,” Roman said.

Coleman-Mitchell became Connecticut’s health commissioner last year after working for the Department of Public Health for 17 years.

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