Lloyd Berentzen, who’s been the director of the Bear River Health Department for nearly 20 years, has announced plans to retire.
“After careful consideration with my wife, Heather, and my family, I have notified the Board of Health of my intent to retire sometime around April 1, 2021,” he told The Herald Journal.
Cache County Executive Craig Buttars — the chair of the BRHD board of directors — announced at the County Council meeting on Tuesday that Berentzen had initially planned to retire in April of this year but delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a big position to fill,” said Josh Greer with BRHD. “He really has put in his time, and it’s time for a well-deserved rest.”
And with the pandemic, the role has only grown.
“Right now, I’ll tell you, Lloyd is on the phone 24-7, meeting with the state health department, meeting with elected officials down at the state level, meeting with local elected officials, meeting with other health officers,” Greer said. “It’s just one policy meeting after another.”
At the meeting, Buttars and councilmembers expressed their gratitude for Berentzen’s role in handling the coronavirus.
The job listing is now open on the BRHD website, and Greer said there have been several qualified applicants who’ve thrown their names in — though, unlike when Berentzen was appointed, the deputy director is not among them.
The application process will end on Monday, and officials hope the replacement will be available starting in January.
Berentzen is willing to stay on until April 2021, depending on how much training and help the individual chosen to replace him needs, and joked with the council, “Don’t kick me out yet.”
“In the meantime, there is still much work to be done over the next several months to do all I can in helping to protect the health of our communities,” he told The Herald Journal, “not just with the challenges of COVID but also the many other important public health programs that the Bear River Health Department has responsibility for.”
Berentzen has been with the health department since 1986 and took over as interim director after John Bailey retired in 2001. He has worked for BRHD for nearly 34 years.