Dear Community, From Karen Ramstrom: ‘I don’t want to leave my job.’

Shasta County Health Officer Dr. Karen Ramstrom

As many are aware, my job performance was recently reviewed by the Shasta County Board of Supervisors. In preparation, my supervisor, Robin Schurig, Public Health Director, made herself available to the Board, ready to answer any questions and share my performance evaluations, including the most recent one she completed in October 2021. For the record, like past reviews, my performance evaluation was positive, no issues, as exemplified by one of many comments in the October review: “You have built such strong relationships and inspired such respect that I received an unprecedented 28 peer reviews from a variety of people, all with extremely positive things to say about your performance and your character.”

I was honored to hear the comments received from community partners as I have been by the recent outpouring of community support. In short, my performance review did not mention anything suggesting that my job was in jeopardy, and I have no specific information from the Board that my job performance was unsatisfactory in any way.

Let’s recap:  Throughout the pandemic, retired HHSA Director Donnell Ewert, Robin and I worked together with the Board to find the best solutions in the midst of an insurmountable situation.  It was a partnership.  The Board provided direction and that is the road we took: Education and support to the community, for which credit goes to the dedication and hard work of our staff. I am so proud of them. They deserve public recognition. Once again, we were never more restrictive than the state required; we followed the state law. Period. We conveyed information and leadership during a very difficult time for the entire world.

I am certain some Board members absolutely have my best interests in mind and are doing their best given the current situation.  But I don’t want to leave my job and I don’t want to be muzzled. I object to being terminated. There is just too much work to do, so many important issues that need our attention: opioid overdoses, congenital syphilis, mental illness and suicide, trauma, ACEs, and so many more. I am a public servant.  I would like to continue serving Shasta County if given the chance.

What’s next? Once again, I will be the subject of the May 3rd closed session: “to consider the discipline/dismissal/release of your at-will employment as Shasta County Health Officer.”

How am I doing personally?  I’m sad. And disappointed. Stress takes a toll. But I have a lot of support from family, friends, amazing work colleagues and community members who I don’t even know. I am incredibly grateful and hopeful that I can continue my good work for Shasta County.

Karen Ramstrom, Shasta County Health Officer

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