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Columbia County HHS director on leave, investigation of department pending
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Columbia County HHS director on leave, investigation of department pending

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Dawn Woodard, Columbia County's Health and Human Services director, has been placed on leave this week, and the county is having an outside law firm look into issues within the department. 

Columbia County’s Health and Human Services Director Dawn Woodard has been placed on administrative leave, and the county has hired an outside law firm to conduct an investigation of the department.

County Corporation Counsel and Human Resources Director Joe Ruf confirmed that Woodard is still an employee with the county, but is currently on leave.

Ruf also said the county is working with Von Brisen and Roper, a law firm out of Madison, to conduct an investigation of the Health and Human Services Department. Ruf said he could not provide details about the investigation or reasons for Woodard being placed on leave, as they are personnel related and closed session discussion items.

“Dawn is still employed by the county. She is not currently at work,” said Ruf.

Health and Human Services Children and Family Administrator Katie Day has taken over the duties of HHS director throughout the investigation and Woodard’s leave.

The County Board does not meet in February. Ruf said the board will likely be provided with an update on the investigation, and consider how to move forward at the March board meeting. Woodard will remain on leave at least until then.

“Not a whole lot happens here, there will be updates at the March meeting, and we’ll go from there and figure out what happens next,” said Ruf. “At some point folks will be told, and the HHS board will be told, but for now Dawn is still employed, but not at work and Katie is filling in.”

Woodard has worked in Columbia County since April 2008, and was appointed by the Board as the HHS director in July 2011.

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