Calaveras in a complicated relationship with a healthcare professional

San Andreas, California – In a complex move, the Calaveras Supervisory Board renewed its contract with its county health official, but also made it clear that they hope to replace it soon.

On this week’s agenda was the renewal of Dr. Rene Ramirez’s contract, in effect from July 1 to June 30, 2023. It should not exceed $ 166,400. The state requires the county to have a public health officer, and Dr. Ramirez, who is based in Fresno, has been in that role for the past year.

Before voting on the deal, Supervisor Benjamin Stopper said he would like the county to find “someone who is a little more connected to our constituencies and understands how business is run here and how to treat people properly.”

Supervisor Gary Tofanelli said he was also disappointed with Dr. Ramirez’s performance. Tofanelli said there were some comments reportedly made by Dr. Ramirez, along with a “Southern District Health Officer,” directed to the Mountain Valley Medical Aid Agency. Tofanelli did not go into details, but said EMS in Mountain Valley and he himself had tried to contact Dr. Ramirez about it repeatedly. Tofanelli said: “I think for $ 166,000, when the chairman of the board of Mountain Valley EMS, the agency he was talking about, and the vice-chairman of that board, call you, you will at least answer or give them back by phone call. I didn’t get either. “

Supervisor Merita Callaway objected, saying she had no problems with Dr. Ramirez and reminded the board that it was very difficult to find someone to play the role after Dr. Dean Kelaita resigned. She said that at that time there was no one in the area of ​​three districts who was interested in the position.

Supervisor Stopper said that when they were recruiting for the position earlier (after Dr. Kelaita), “things were very controversial” (in terms of COVID’s restrictions) and it was a smart move “politically” not to accept it.

Stopper advised them to contact local health leader Dr. Randy Smart to see if he would like to take the position. If he refused, Stopper said the county could ask for other candidates.

Supervisor Jack Garamendi expressed displeasure that the board was reviewing Dr. Ramirez’s contract just two weeks before it expired. “They put us in a box and I don’t appreciate that,” he told county officials.

Corey Allen, director of the Calaveras Health and Human Services Agency, defended Dr. Ramirez, saying he had faced “the biggest challenge we could have imagined” in the past year. She claims that he “fulfilled every element of the scope of work” listed in his contract. She also said that he tried to return the call, which was mentioned by supervisor Tofanelli, and that he probably received an incorrect voice message. She also said that Dr. Ramirez was concerned about a possible violation of Brown’s law in connection with the incident, so he did not continue talking to Tofanelli more than the initial attempt to call him. She also said that Dr. Ramirez was “a health worker” and “not a politician”, to which Supervisor Tofanelli interrupted: “Then he must stay away from politics. This is my comment. And he didn’t. “

The county’s legal council confirmed that even if the county approves a one-year extension, either country can terminate it by giving only 30 days’ notice.

Eventually, in a complex move, the board voted to approve the new contract, but also two supervisors contacted Dr. Randy Smart to see if he might be interested in the position. If he is not interested, the board will ask for suggestions for other potentially interested people who would like to play the role. The final vote was 5-0.

Dr. Ramirez was not on the board meeting.

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