Dr. Mark Beatty (left) and Jefferson Ketchel

Dr. Mark Beatty (left) and Jefferson Ketchel

Abrupt exit of county’s top 2 health officials was ‘amicable’

The Board of Health on Tuesday accepted the resignations of Dr. Mark Beatty and Jefferson Ketchel.

EVERETT — The governing board for the Snohomish Health District accepted the resignations of its top two leaders on Tuesday.

The abrupt departure of health officer Dr. Mark Beatty and administrator Jefferson Ketchel came after a special meeting. The agenda gave no hint of the action that would take place, other than mentioning an executive session of up to 90 minutes.

To fill in as interim administrator, the board appointed Shawn Frederick, the district’s administration services director, according to a brief news release from the health district. Dr. Chris Spitters, the district’s contracted physician for tuberculosis control, will serve as acting health officer until a permanent replacement is selected.

Shawn Frederick

Shawn Frederick

The health district referred all questions about the departures to Frederick.

So did an aide for Snohomish County Councilwoman Stephanie Wright, who serves as chairwoman of the county’s Board of Health.

“There was an amicable separation that included both of their resignations and the board is deciding on a process to fill both of those positions,” Frederick said.

Ketchel, when reached through social media, used the same term to describe his departure: amicable.

“I deeply appreciate the support of the Board, community, and most importantly the staff of the Health District during my four years there,” he wrote.

Dr. Chris Spitters

Dr. Chris Spitters

Both Beatty and Ketchel had been in their positions for about two years.

Beatty was named health officer in August 2017. He is a pediatrician and preventive medicine specialist with a master’s in public health from Johns Hopkins University, according to the district website. He formerly worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in the vaccine industry.

Ketchel joined the district in 2015 as the environmental health officer and rose to the administrator’s post in April 2017, according to the district website. He formerly worked with other public health agencies.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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