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Ottawa Co. health department supporters share concerns at rally

Hundreds showed up to the Ottawa County Department of Public Health in Holland Wednesday night to show their support for health administration and workers.

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — Hundreds show up to the Ottawa County Department of Public Health in Holland Wednesday night, showing their support for the department amid recent turmoil between Health Officer Adeline Hambley and the County Commission.

"Our main message is, we want our health department to be fully funded and to continue the excellent service they have provided to our county for many many years," said Kim Nagy with Ottawa Integrity PAC.

Nagy called the protest a rally for public health.

"The health departments services are vital, and they're vast," said Nagy. "Most people don't know what the health department does: restaurant inspections, food inspections..."

Recently, Hambley was locked out of the county's social media accounts after she made claims that the $2.5 million budget proposed by the administration would put the department at risk, possibly even closing its doors.

County leadership later responded saying she was "fear mongering" and "insubordinate."

Hambley spoke up during the Finance and Administration Committee meeting Tuesday.

"In some instances, you are literally taking services out of the mouths of children with these actions," said Hambley. "This is not a return to 'pre-COVID' budget levels, since it results in cuts to services and positions that existed pre-COVID."

Dr. Rob Davidson, an emergency room physician, is also concerned with the direction public health is heading in Ottawa County.

"It's so critically important that they do all of their work behind the scenes, they are not in the spotlight, they are not seeking attention," said Dr. Davidson. "Unfortunately, the actions of the county commission have placed the spotlight on public health. We're here to let our county commission know that what they're doing isn't okay."

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