El Paso City Officials Call For New Public Health Director
Some El Paso City Council members are calling for a new public health director in the wake of the pandemic and it doesn't look like it's going to happen.
The former director, Robert Resendes, resigned in May following a month off meaning that El Paso has really had no Public Health Director since April. The department is now under the authority of the Office of Emergency Management, headed by El Paso Fire Department Chief Mario D’Agostino.
With COVID-19 cases rising and budget cuts affecting many city departments, some council members say it's 1), time that the Public Health department had a dedicated leader and 2), that the department should be spared any more budget cuts during this critical time.
Regarding a new, "official" health director, Chief D'Agostino said it's not happening.
We currently have our assistant director, Angela Mora. She’s overseeing the Department of Public Health,” said Chief D’Agostino. “We also have Doctor Hector Ocaranza, who’s overseeing the pandemic as the health authority. - KFOX
On the financial side, it was brought up that the health department budget has already been cut by 2 million dollars. NOTE: That particular budget cut was voted on almost two years ago, well ahead of the current situation.
I'm no medical expert so, I'll leave the leadership question alone. As far as budget cuts go, I agree that for the immediate future, the health department should be left fully funded to do what they need to do.
If the city needs to save money that badly, I'm sure a few "higher-ups" could handle a pay cut and/or furlough. There are also many services that could be cut or temporarily suspended and some decidedly unprofitable services, (streetcars, I'm looking at you), that could be done away with completely. Just sayin'...