An online petition has been started to remove Kelley Vollmar from her job as Jefferson County Health Department director, about two weeks after a group started a petition drive on July 11 to remove Suzy Davis from her seat on the Health Department Board of Trustees.
As of today (Aug. 13), the Change.org online petition seeking to remove Vollmar had 189 signatures.
The petition to remove Davis had 550 signatures, according to Marc Williams, 20, of Hillsboro, who organized that petition drive.
The Change.org online petition calls for Jefferson County Executive Dennis Gannon and the Jefferson County Health Department Board of Trustees to remove and replace Vollmar. That petition lists 11 “events leading to the residents losing confidence in her.”
One of the reasons listed said Vollmar showed favoritism to board members who support wearing masks. Another claimed that at the July 21 board meeting, “she did not present both sides of the argument” by only allowing a “pro-mask” physician to speak. A third was a complaint that Vollmar had called people gathered outside a board meeting protesting a possible mask mandate a circus.
The following day, Vollmar apologized for that comment.
The organizer of the online petition did not respond to Facebook messages seeking comment.
Gannon said Monday he had not seen the petition and no one has sent it to him. He said if the petition would be sent to him, he would have no authority to take any action.
“I have no jurisdiction over them (Health Department employees),” he said. “For me it would be information only. I won’t be taking any action.”
Gannon said the Health Department director is hired by the Board of Trustees.
Dennis Diehl, chairperson of the Board of Trustees, said if the petition was sent to the board, it would not be ignored, but legally he said he was unsure if the board would be required to take any action.
“The board is charged to do what is best for the health and safety of the public,” he said. “I personally see no reason why we would remove her.”
Vollmar said her job is to promote public health and not win a popularity contest.
“Every member of our society has a right to the same public protections that ensure the highest quality of life and health,” she said in a written statement. “As director, I take my job to prevent disease and protect health in our community very seriously. My job description doesn’t read, ‘protect population health – as long as it doesn’t make someone mad. It says, protect public health - period.’ I will continue to fulfill my job duties with the same passion and energy that I have done for over 20 years. My mission is to champion positive health outcomes to support a county where families want to live, work and play, not to win a popularity contest.”
Davis, 65, of High Ridge said she believes the petition drive to remove her from her seat was started because of her stance against a possible mandatory face mask order to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Jeannie Goff, chief of staff for the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office, said she believes a Health Department board member may not be removed by petition.
“Once they are in, they are in until they are voted out,” Goff said.
She said the only thing the County Clerk’s office will do if the petition is sent to them is check if the people who signed it are registered voters.
Davis said she has “no ill feelings” about the petition.
One of the main organizers of the petition drive to “Recall Suzy Davis” is Williams, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Health Department board in June.
“I'm not running this recall out of spite or anything like that,” he said. “We (Jefferson County voters) recently elected Suzy Davis to represent us on a health board, and we believe that is not the right decision.
“We want to remove her because, let’s just say, her scientific beliefs are not accepted by the scientific community.”
Williams said he and other organizers of the petition have spoken with County Clerk Ken Waller about how to recall Davis and were told there probably is no way to do so.
However, Williams said the group is looking into other possibilities.