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Growing outrage among local leaders after sudden ouster of Dr. Bárzaga as DCHD CEO

There is growing outrage among Coachella Valley officials about the ouster of Desert Healthcare District CEO Dr. Conrado Bárzaga.

Bárzaga had been in the role for four years before he was suddenly removed by the board Monday from his position.

The DHCD is a local government agency.

County Supervisor Manuel Perez says he is "shocked and dismayed" by the board's decision and now he wants answers.

"What is really going on here?" Perez asked News Channel 3's Peter Daut during an in-depth interview.

Peter asked Perez, "Well let me ask you sir, if you don't know what's really going on, then why put out a statement asking the Board to reverse the decision. If you don't have all the facts, is it premature to condemn that decision?"

Perez, responded, "I think the list goes on and on as to what his accomplishments were. So is it premature? It's a matter of interpretation, it's a matter of those individuals to think through that."

Perez also says he spoke with Bárzaga who felt blindsided by his firing and wants his job back.

Valley Congressman Raul Ruiz also expressed his support for Bárzaga, saying Bárzaga worked tirelessly to improve public health and reduce health disparities. Both he and Perez have issued statements, urging the board to reverse its decision.

Meanwhile, Interim CEO Chris Christensen says it's business as usual at the district as the board searches for a new permanent CEO.

"I know you're probably limited in what you can say about the ousting of Dr. Bárzaga, but in your opinion, was the decision justified?" Peter asked Christensen.

Christensen responded, "As you can imagine, I'm unable to respond to that. I would much prefer to focus on the matters going forward for the district and all the good things that we do."

Peter followed up, "The reason I ask, is I'm sure you know there are elected officials who are expressing their outrage and dismay over Dr. Bárzaga's firing and now asking for the Board to reinstate him. Your reaction?"

To which, Christensen answered, "All matters are taken into very serious consideration for the well-being of the community."

You can watch both in-depth interviews at the top of the article.

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Article Topic Follows: Coachella Valley Questions Answered

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Peter Daut

KESQ News Team


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