Director of SC DHEC Resigns as State Continues to Battle Coronavirus; Cites Family and Health Reasons for Departure

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The director of South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control announced his resignation on Wednesday, May 27.

Rick Toomey, a native of Greenville, SC, was appointed director in February 2019. In his resignation letter, he praised the agency’s efforts in its response to Coronavirus and cited health concerns and the birth of his first grandchild as the reasons for his sudden departure.

On the day of his resignation, SC DHEC announced twenty additional deaths associated with COVID-19; South Carolina’s death toll rose to 466 people.

A copy of his resignation letter is included below:

It is with profound and mixed emotions that I share my decision with you to resign as the agency director, effective June 10, 2020. Please know that this decision was not an easy one for me to make and while my health remains stable, I need to be in Beaufort more with my family. Although my time serving DHEC is shorter than intended, I recognize that I cannot effectively lead and fully honor the role if I’m not in Columbia.

I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve accomplished together as Team DHEC and I know first-hand that others also recognize our great work. The work that is done at our agency is critically important to our great state.

It is nearly impossible for me to adequately express my gratitude and appreciation for the support that you have given me. I’ve found this to be true at every level in our organization—from the Upstate to the Lowcountry, each deputy area, and front line staff, leaders, and the agency’s Executive Leadership Team. Equally impressive is the support that DHEC has received from the Board, state agency directors, members of the general assembly, and Governor McMaster and his staff particularly during these challenging months as we have responded to COVID-19.

It has been one of my greatest honors to serve the State of South Carolina and be part of such an outstanding agency. Together, we have exceeded our goal to test 110,000 South Carolinians for COVID-19 in May and the state has begun its careful transition toward a new normal. This momentum has reassured me that the timing of my decision to step down as agency director is right for me and my family.

Marshall Taylor will serve as acting director for the agency until the Board selects the next DHEC director.

All my best,

Rick