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Former Conn. Public Health Commissioner Accuses Lamont Of Discrimination

COURTESY OF CONN. DPH

The former head of the Connecticut Department of Public Health has accused Governor Ned Lamont of firing her in May for discriminatory reasons.

Renée Coleman-Mitchell is Black. Her lawyer, Eric Brown, said she wants to “set the record straight” about why she was let go “without a plausible reason”.

“Essentially [she] was replaced by Josh Geballe, the governor’s Chief Operating Officer, who took over the day-to-day handling and operations of the state’s COVID response. She was shoved to the side," Brown said. "The reason why we think that’s discriminatory is because Josh Geballe is a young white man with no public health experience. He’s a politician.”

In a statement, Coleman-Mitchell was appalled Lamont replaced her 30 years of public health expertise with Josh Geballe, a former IBM executive.

Her statement comes ahead of a commissioned report to review the state’s pandemic response expected later this month. Coleman-Mitchell says she was never interviewed.

Lamont and his health department declined to comment.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.