Next steps for Health Dept. after Plescia's resignation

The sudden resignation of the Mecklenburg County Health Director doesn't go into effect until August. However, some county commissioners say a change in leadership is long overdue.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The sudden resignation of the Mecklenburg County Health Director doesn't go into effect until August. However, some county commissioners say a change in leadership is long overdue.

"The Health Department has had problems for years," said Comm. Vilma Leake.

Commissioner Vilma Leake says the problems at the Mecklenburg County Health Department predates Dr. Marcus Plescia's tenure as Health Director. However, she says the scandal that occurred on his watch didn't help matters.

"It never should've happened," she declared.

Six months ago the health department came under fire for failing to notify 185 women that their pap smear results were abnormal. The scandal resulted in the forced resignation of several employees. 

Dr. Plescia stayed on as director, until his announcement on Tuesday that he was resigning.

"Heads need to roll earlier," said Leake.  "Should've gone on leave until the investigation was over," she said.

Commissioner Trevor Fuller weighed in at Tuesday night's BOCC meeting. "We certainly have seen some needs for tighter management control," he declared.

Dr. Plescia is out of town and not available for comment. However, he did send an internal email to staff. It says in part, "the constant negative media coverage – which has often lacked balance and has been focused heavily on me – has become a distraction to the department, has rendered it significantly more difficult for me to accomplish what I came here to do."

Leake questions why he would depart months after the scandal.

"If he felt that he could not lead, why didn't he step down earlier," she said.

She suspects the Health Department's latest scandal may have been a factor. The department in hot water again, this time for issuing hundreds of permits to swimming pools without inspecting them.

Dr. Plescia's successor will be named by County Manager Dena Diorio. NBC Charlotte reached out to her to see what that selection process will entail however, she was not available.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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