Health Director Jennifer Hoffman Resigns
In a letter to Mayor Roxann Wedegartner dated October 6, 2023, Hoffman offered her thoughts on her tenure as the city’s health director and her reasons for leaving. “As director, I had the privilege of leading the department to provide restaurant safety, protect against national food illness outbreaks, home inspections and making homeowners compliant, working on a Portland-Loo for a public restroom, homeless and sheltering efforts, collaborating with partner agencies, as well as supporting the immigrants joining our community and providing them with public health support,” said Hoffman.
After serving as the chairwoman of the Greenfield Board of Health in 2020, and being actively involved in the city’s efforts to protect the city against COVID-19, Hoffman became the interim health director in September 2020 following Valerie Bird’s retirement. In February 2021, Mayor Wedegartner announced that Hoffman would continue guiding the city’s health department as its full-time director.
“Despite all of this, I am stepping down from this role effective October 20, 2023. The emotional toll it has taken on me was great. Working with the public under constant scrutiny is very challenging,” said Hoffman. She stated that “six people” were “harassing, abusive, manipulative and downright disrespectful and rude.”
“I am incredibly saddened by Director Hoffman’s resignation. Her work for the city has been so valuable in building an effective and professional health department that works daily to support public health and inspections. She and her staff have provided consistent public health protections while also helping many of the people they encounter find solutions to their particular health safety issues,” said Mayor Wedegartner.
“Director Hoffman is not alone in her frustration at the often relentless scrutiny, incivility and petty criticisms of employees in our city who do their jobs daily on behalf of our residents. It is an epidemic affecting people who work in public service today,” added Wedegartner.
Hoffman, a registered nurse with a master's degree in public health, provided leadership and expertise during a critical juncture of the coronavirus pandemic, coordinating with city leaders on organizing several COVID-19 vaccination clinics. She oversaw the daily responsibilities of the health director position, including promoting health programs, guiding the food and home inspection processes and monitoring the community’s health. Director Hoffman also sought and received a multi-year grant totaling $900,000 called the Public Health Excellence Grant that allows Greenfield’s public health initiatives to extend into Montague, Deerfield, Sunderland, Leverett and Shutesbury.
“I will move immediately to find an interim health director while we search for a full-time director,” offered Wedegartner about seeking a replacement for Hoffman.