Public health director steps into retirement

January 08, 2003 11:00 pm

By SCOTT PESZNECKER

Linda Parker, Calaveras County's director of public health, will resign from her post next week to join her husband in retirement.

Tears filled Parker's eyes as she announced to the Board of Supervisors that Monday will be her last day. She thanked supervisors and her staff for making her 21 years with the county memorable.

But Parker, 58, a registered nurse, said it's time to move on to "the next chapter" in life.

Also, she said she's slightly envious of her husband, Terry, who retired last May. He is the former Calaveras County coroner.

"I just can't stand watching him be retired," Parker said, adding that she made the decision to resign about three months ago.

In her four years as health director, Parker was instrumental in moving the department from the Calaveras County Government Center campus in San Andreas to a nearby building on Mountain Ranch Road in July 2000.

The old basement offices were dreary and had no windows, Parker said, and the old place was also crowded, with as many as four nurses working in one room.

The new building "is light and cheery and is carpeted and has windows. It re-energized everyone's enthusiasm about working for the health department."

In November, Parker helped secure a car-seat grant from the federal government worth $113,000 over two and a half years. The money will be spent helping parents evaluate the safety of car seats for their children.

Also during Parker's tenure, the department hired a county health officer, Dean Kelaita, to answer questions from the public and press about communicable diseases and other health concerns.

Parker spent time at almost every position in the county health department before becoming director in 1999.

She said she will miss the "small-town feeling" of her job, and the people she has worked with.

"In a small community like this, you can get things done," Parker said. "You don't deal with a tremendous amount of bureaucracy."

Jeanne Boyce, director of the county's Health Services Agency, said Parker will be missed.