GREEN VALLEY — A shakeup at the Mercer County Health Department Friday saw the retirement of the administrator, resignation of the health officer and resignation of the chair of the department’s board of directors.

After an executive session of the board, Board of Health Chairman Dr. Randy Stevens said he has resigned from the board, effective after the meeting, Administrator Susan Kadar has turned in her letter of retirement and Dr. Kathy Wides submitted her letter of resignation, effective immediately.

“We have lost our administrator and health officer,” Stevens said. “As chairman of the board, when something like that happens, the buck stops at the top. So I think it’s better for this board to go forward without me.”

Kadar did not comment after the meeting.

The board voted to accept Kadar’s retirement and named Brenda Donithan, the department’s Threat Preparedness and SNS (Strategic National Stockpile) Coordinator, as interim administrator.

Donithan has been with the health department for 31 years.

“In the Covid crisis as in all crises it is urgently important that we all pull together,” Wides said in her letter of resignation. “The board of health and myself find ourselves pulling in different directions. I feel it is in the best interest that I resign so that the board can find a health officer they are more comfortable working with.”

Mercer County has seen a recent surge in Covid-19 cases, including three deaths, all of whom were residents of the Princeton Health Care Center (PHCC), which has reported a total of 47 positive cases during a recent outbreak.

Board member Roger Topping said PHCC was not notified of the first two Covid related deaths at the facility but learned about them through the media.

The DHHR (Department of Health and Human Resources) learned PHCC had not been contacted about the deaths and has made adjustments, he said.

There was a gap (in communication) that needed to be fixed, Topping said, and DHHR has taken care of that.

“The nursing home was completely caught off-guard about the Cover deaths,” he said.

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