The Calloway County Health Department will be under new leadership effective Aug. 10 following the recent resignation of Public Health Director Amy Ferguson.
Ferguson submitted her letter of resignation during the July 28 Board of Health meeting and in a three-to-one vote, the board members accepted.
“Public Health has been a rewarding career and I will cherish many memories,” Ferguson told WKMS. “I have worked with some fantastic, hard-working, and caring people over the years and I have met just as many through the various coalitions and activities that I have been involved in. I am at a time in my life when I need a change of pace and am looking forward to what the future has in store for me.”
Ferguson has been in public health for 18 years, the past nine of those at CCHD. Her last day with CCHD is Aug. 22.
Dr. Bill Giese, chairman of the Calloway County Board of Health (CCBH), said Ferguson’s letter of resignation didn’t list a specific reason. But he noted, “It’s a tough job, especially in this climate.”
The CCBH tapped Director of Nursing Kim Paschall to serve as Interim Public Health Director beginning Aug. 10.
Paschall is currently the director of nursing and said she has been working closely with Ferguson for the last two-and-a-half years. Because they’ve worked so closely, she said she knows some of the director’s duties.
“I think it was just a logical fit,” she said. “We just feel like it will be a smooth transition.”
Paschall has been in nursing for 25 years and before joining CCHD, served for eight years as the Murray State University Health Services Director.
Even in the face of a pandemic and on a day when the county reported its highest numbers of new cases to date, Paschall said, “I believe I’m prepared.”
“We are working as a team, no one person does everything here so that’s the good part about this. We’ve got a lot of outstanding employees here that I can lean on.”
CCHD Finance Administrator Stephanie Hays said finding a permanent public health director will be a lengthy process, and one which the department feels will be nearly impossible in the midst of a worldwide health pandemic.
“We’re looking at springtime before the search process begins, to get us over the hump,” she said. “We will hopefully be in a better situation by then.”
When the board and department are ready to begin the search, Hays explained, they’ll place an advertisement for the job posting on the health department’s website. Interested candidates will have to qualify at the state level before the interview process begins at the local level.