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La Plata County Board of Health pursues sole remaining candidate for director position

Mike Byrns, of Rhode Island, scheduled for in-person visit at end of April
The La Plata County Board of Health will proceed with the recruitment of Mike Byrns. If he withdraws from consideration, the search for a public health director will restart. (Reuben M. Schafir/Durango Herald file)

The La Plata County Board of Health voted Friday to continue recruiting Mike Byrns, the sole remaining candidate for the top job at the county’s health department after the other finalist removed herself from consideration last week.

Board members will interview Byrns in person later this month and hold a public meet-and-greet event. Byrns has notified the county that he is also a finalist for another position; if he withdraws his name as well, county staff will restart the recruitment process.

Tara Hardy, director of the Silver Thread Public Health Department serving Hinsdale and Mineral counties, withdrew her application “for personal reasons,” according to the Board’s president, Patricia Supanich-Wall.

Byrns is the assistant director of health at the Rhode Island Department of Health in Providence, where he has primarily served as the state’s leading toxicologist.

The vote occurred during a special meeting following a 90-minute executive session.

“We want to have a contingency plan ... if he were to back out (so) that we can hit the ground running moving forward to get this position hired,” Supanich-Wall said before the vote.

An event for the public to meet Byrns remains scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. April 24 at the La Plata County administration building, 1101 East Second Ave. in Durango.


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