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Director of Kern County Public Health, Matt Constantine, retiring

Matt Constantine, Kern County Public Health Director (FILE)
Posted at 5:22 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 20:41:13-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The director of Kern County Public Health is retiring.

Matt Constantine submitted a written letter Wednesday night indicating his intent to retire in March, according to public health.

"Matt told the Board of Supervisors in 2019 and subsequently submitted his written letter last night indicating his intent to retire in March 2021. This afternoon he provided an email to Public Health staff with his intentions to retire," said Michelle Corson of Kern County Public Health.

Constantine sent an email to the public health staff on Thursday announcing his decision.

Public Health Colleagues,

In 2019 I informed the Board of Supervisors of my intent to retire in early 2021. Yesterday I informed the Board that I am retiring on March 26, 2021.

My 27-year career with the County has been one of the best experiences of my life. Public Health has provided me with an opportunity to work hard; it has challenged me and pushed me to be creative and frugal and I have been rewarded with a lifetime of cherished memories and lifelong friends.

Although my notification to the Board of my pending retirement was made well before any of us knew of the presence of COVID or the pending challenges this pandemic would create, I have thought over the last 10 months that I may need to postpone my decision. However, with the release of the vaccine in December and the ability for our community to resume normal functions within reach I believe the timing of my transition will not interfere with our COVID-fighting efforts.

I’m grateful that the Board of Supervisors has been supportive and encouraging to me and all of the employees at Public Health during our COVID response efforts. They have pushed us to do more, to work harder than we thought possible. They have challenged us to think creatively, to be transparent and to do all that is possible to protect our community.

These past 10 months have been unprecedented and have challenged and stressed our community and healthcare system. Public Health has restructured our entire Department so that we are completely dedicated to keeping our community safe from the threats this virus has presented. You have all been willing to take on additional and new duties and have been working so hard. As is usual I’ve been impressed with your tenacity and dedication to your work and helping others in our community.

I’ve been honored to work beside each of you and I’m so proud of what we have accomplished.

He became the public health director back in 2009.

No word on his replacement at this time.

This is a developing story.