GREENFIELD — Greenfield Health Director Jennifer Hoffman has resigned from her position, effective Friday, Oct. 20.
In a letter to Mayor Roxann Wedegartner dated Oct. 6, Hoffman offered her thoughts on her tenure as the city’s health director and her reasons for leaving.
“As director, I had the privilege of leading the department to provide restaurant safety, protect against national food-illness outbreaks, home inspections and making homeowners compliant, working on a Portland Loo for a public restroom, homeless and sheltering efforts, collaborating with partner agencies, as well as supporting the immigrants joining our community and providing them with public-health support,” Hoffman said.
“The emotional toll it has taken on me was great. Working with the public under constant scrutiny is very challenging,” she added, noting that six people in particular have been “harassing, abusive, manipulative, and downright disrespectful and rude.”
Wedegartner said she will move immediately to find an interim health director during the search for a full-time director.
“I am incredibly saddened by Director Hoffman’s resignation,” the mayor said. “Her work for the city has been so valuable in building an effective and professional health department that works daily to support public health and inspections. She and her staff have provided consistent public-health protections while also helping many of the people they encounter find solutions to their particular health safety issues.
“Director Hoffman is not alone in her frustration at the often relentless scrutiny, incivility, and petty criticisms of employees in our city who do their jobs daily on behalf of our residents,” she added. “It is an epidemic affecting people who work in public service today.”
Hoffman, who earned a bachelor’s degree in diagnostic medical imaging with a master’s degree in public health, provided leadership and expertise during a critical juncture of the coronavirus pandemic, coordinating with city leaders on organizing several COVID-19 vaccination clinics. She oversaw the daily responsibilities of the health director position, including promoting health programs, guiding food- and home-inspection processes, and monitoring community health. She also sought and received a multi-year, $425,000 Public Health Excellence Grant, allowing Greenfield’s public-health initiatives to extend into Montague, Deerfield, Sunderland, Leverett, and Shutesbury.