La Plata County abruptly canceled a meet-and-greet event scheduled for Thursday with the two finalists for the director of the county’s new health department after one of the candidates withdrew at the last minute.
County spokesman Ted Holteen confirmed that Amy Rice, who is currently employed as the laboratory director at Indian Health Service in Crownpoint, New Mexico, had removed herself from consideration.
Interviews with county staff and health board members were slated to take place Thursday, but Rice informed the county of her withdrawal Wednesday evening.
Tiffany Switzer, who was appointed last week as the interim executive director of San Juan Basin Public Health, is the sole finalist. She has served as deputy director of SJBPH since 2020.
County Commissioners were slated to selected a candidate to lead La Plata County Public Health by the end of the month. The county is in the process of standing up its own public health agency as the Jan. 1 dissolution date of SJBPH draws near. When the new year arrives, the health department must be prepared to assume all the duties of a local public health department as required by state law.
Rice and Switzer were selected from a pool of applicants by Raftelis, a consulting firm that recruited candidates through a nationwide search.
At a meeting with the Board of Health on Thursday, County Manager Chuck Stevens informed members of Rice’s decision to withdraw.
When asked whether the county would revisit the pool of previously rejected candidates, Stevens said “I wouldn’t want to speculate right now,” although he acknowledged that it was a possibility.
Switzer said she was also waiting to hear what next steps will be.
County commissioners are likely to give staff direction on the matter next week.
This article has been updated to reflect that Amy Rice withdrew herself from consideration Wednesday evening. Earlier information regarding the timing of her withdrawal was incorrect.