SAN ANTONIO – The outgoing director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, Dawn Emerick, said although her resignation from her position may have been surprising to city leaders, that wasn’t the case for her close coworkers.
Emerick spoke out in a Twitter thread Saturday, saying the difficult decision “did not come as a surprise to those who worked closely with me over the last five months.”
1/4-After thoughtful reflection I have resigned my position as Director of the Metropolitan Health District. This difficult decision did not come as a surprise to those who worked closely with me over the last 5 months— Dawn Emerick, EdD (@DawnEmerickEdD) June 27, 2020
Emerick’s resignation was announced Friday morning by city officials and came just five months after she started the job. Her last day will be July 3.
In her resignation letter, Emerick said she hoped her position would be filled with a person of color. She said the Black Lives Matter movement has led her to reflect on equity.
However, as announced Friday, city leaders said current Assistant City Manager Colleen Bridger will act as the interim director until someone else is hired into the position. Bridger had previously served as Metro Health director between March 2017 and July 2019, when she was appointed as an assistant city manager.
Emerick said in a Tweet that her decision to leave her position with Metro Health was her choice, and will give herself the “autonomy to actually lead & improve the physical health, mental safety, & well being of this community.”
3/4-The decision to leave is my choice to give myself the autonomy to actually lead & improve the physical health, mental safety, & well being of this community. I look forward to [safely] meeting San Antonio's amazing community leaders, businesses, and its wonderful people.— Dawn Emerick, EdD (@DawnEmerickEdD) June 27, 2020
During a COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, she became visibly upset over backlogs in testing, saying “I’m angry, I’m tired and it shouldn’t be this way.
The following day, Emerick Tweeted that pressure amid the pandemic has been “wreaking havoc” on staff in public health departments.
“It’s exhausting to be contradicted and argued with and devalued and demoralized all the time..."— Dawn Emerick, EdD (@DawnEmerickEdD) June 24, 2020
Executive leaders are not the only people experiencing this external and internal pressure. Its wreaking havoc on staff throughout the entire system regardless of pay grade. https://t.co/bAmJSYBFpu
City Manager Erik Walsh acknowledged the pressure, telling reporters on Friday that there’s no room for failure.
“We’re in a critical position right now. The community is relying upon us, and we have to hold it together,” Walsh said.
On Saturday, Emerick ended her Twitter thread by thanking San Antonio residents for their support and said overall, it was a privilege for her to be the director of Metro Health for the city.
She also reminded residents to continue practicing social distancing and follow health guidelines as cases of COVID-19 continue to spike in the area.
4/4-It has been my privilege to serve the great city of San Antonio.— Dawn Emerick, EdD (@DawnEmerickEdD) June 27, 2020
One more thing, I can't end this post without reminding all of you to wash your hands, practice social distancing and wear a mask. ❤️