Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Mendocino County’s Director of Public Health Anne Molgaard Abruptly Retires After Less Than a Year at the Helm

Recently Retired Director of Public Health Anne Molgaard [Photograph from the Ukiah Unified School District]

On January 25, 2022, a press release published by the County of Mendocino announced that Anne Molgaard, “a skilled administrator with over 30 years of experience in health and human services,” was appointed to serve as the county’s Director of Public Health.

A month and change shy of her year anniversary, Molgaard has retired. As confirmed by Mendocino County Chief Executive Officer Darcie Antle, Molgaard’s abrupt exit has left the county’s Public Health infrastructure without an administrator which CEO Antle told us will be ironed out in the coming days.

In an internal email we obtained, CEO Antle told Public Health staff, “[T]here’s been a change in leadership in your department. Anne Molgaard has retired from the County of Mendocino effective December 9, 2022.”

The email goes on to remind staff that Molgaard’s “access to all County facilities/offices is the same as afforded to the general public; please be sure to treat her with respect as you would the public during any future contact.” The email specified that “staff may not discuss confidential or work-related information with Ms. Molgaard, as you would refrain from the same with the general public.”

CEO Antle told us the content of this email is “boilerplate” language used when any employee exits resulting in them “no longer hav[ing] the same access as an employee.”

Mendocino County’s 3rd District Supervisor John Haschak told us, “I have really enjoyed working with Anne. She was the lead on the Strategic Plan. She helped guide the County’s response to the Covid pandemic and has been a passionate advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion issues. Her leadership will be missed.”

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2nd District Supervisor Mo Mulheren said, “Anne stepped in to fill the role as the Public Health Director as we transitioned from the HHSA model and back to separate departments at a challenging time and I appreciate her dedication to the community and the County and wish her well in future endeavors.”

Molgaard has a long career in local government and nonprofits serving as the founding Director of FIRST 5 Mendocino for 16 years and served for 12 years on the Ukiah Unified School District Board of Trustees.

In the press release announcing her appointment, Molgaard was quoted saying, “I’m thrilled to work with Public Health staff and partners. There is an amazing team handling the pandemic response as we rebuild our public health infrastructure. Working to promote health and wellbeing for all Mendocino County residents? I’ve got the best job ever.”

We reached out to Molgaard asking her about her retirement and her reflections on her tenure as Public Health Director. As of publication, she has yet to respond.

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  1. I wish the County would stop these Stalin-esque disappearing of department heads, with the accompanying faux story about retiring. It’s incredibly de-stabilizing to the department, does not demonstrate transparency or honesty in government, and certainly doesn’t encourage talented managers to want to work for the County.
    I understand the CEO gets to chose her team, but isn’t there a better way to handle these situations rather than what feels like a palace coup?

  2. People usually plan retirements, like on this day I plan to retire and give a date, people who abruptly retire do it for reasons they don’t control. This doesn’t pass the smell test. CEO’s office and BOS are hiding something. And the beat goes on at the County of Mendocino.

  3. A recent excerpt that needs to be readily and widely shared.

    Mendocino County folks.

    Mendocino County Public Health Director Anne Molgaard Resigns / abrupt retirement.

    It was not long ago maybe February of this year that Anne Molgaard was appointed to be the Public Health Director for Mendocino County.
    This is really Her actual first job where she had responsibilities and not just a figure head for the former CEO Carmel Angelo to move around and in my opinion to keep Molgaard happy and quiet.
    Molgaard was hired in my opinion on a pay to play. Meaning if she played the game with the CEO Molgaard would be put into positions that would allow her a highly paid salary.

    An announcement was made today that Molgaard suddenly retired at the end of last week Friday December 9, 2022.

    When Molgaard was appointed as the public health Director was the first permanent position she has held in 6 years where she has had responsibilities to manage and it didn’t take long for people to see the true capabilities of Molgaard (10 months) So although she stated she retired she only has 6 years with the County and why would she accept a Job as the Public Health Director if she knew she would be retiring. This is just a way out for Molgaard so she can be employed somewhere else. In my opinion she had an ultimatum to resign but hey who knows. In my opinion Molgaard should have never received a made up position of Director of Operations in 2016…where is that job now and who holds that position? Nobody because it was created to get Molgaards foot in the door at a high enough salary so the former CEO could quite Molgaard’s noise she was making in the community about the County. (Kind of suspicious)
    The Former CEO has the idea of keeping her friends close and her enemies closer…Molgaard was the latter. Molgaard is manipulative and I would not be surprised if she plans on suing the County.
    Mendocino County is better off without her in any leadership position.

    Here is the announcement

    Anne Molgaard Appointed Director of Public Health
    Post Date:02/09/2022 1:23 PM
    The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors unanimously recommended that Public Health Transition Director, Anne Molgaard, be appointed as the Director of Public Health at their Tuesday, January 25, 2022, meeting. Chief Executive Officer, Carmel J. Angelo therefore appointed Ms. Molgaard to the position of Director of Public Health. Ms. Molgaard is a skilled administrator with over 30 years of experience in health and human services both in the nonprofit and government sectors.

    The Public Health Department includes programs that serve Mendocino County’s families such as WIC (Women, Infants, & Children), Nursing, Community Wellness, as well as Environmental Health (Land Use, Consumer Protection, and Hazmat), and the county’s COVID Pandemic Response. Molgaard stated, “I’m thrilled to work with Public Health staff and partners. There is an amazing team handling the pandemic response as we rebuild our public health infrastructure. Working to promote health and wellbeing for all Mendocino County residents? I’ve got the best job ever.”

    Before joining the County Health & Human Services Agency, Ms. Molgaard was the founding Director of FIRST 5 Mendocino, where she served for 16 years. She worked closely with Public Health while at FIRST 5 Mendocino, collaborating to develop the county-wide children’s health insurance program, Healthy Kids Mendocino, the Pediatric Dental Initiative, and home visiting program.

  4. Anne did a great job of providing leadership, along with Dr. Coren, helping us get through the pandemic. She will be missed.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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