PORT TOWNSEND — Clallam County Health Officer Dr. Allison Berry is also the new Jefferson County health officer.
The Jefferson County Board of Health appointed her to the position Thursday afternoon.
Berry now serves as health officer for both counties. Former Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Tom Locke is stepping down into a deputy health officer position to assist with the transition.
“He will also be on hand if we need additional support,” Berry said in a phone interview Thursday. “He will be on hand for backup if we see major changes in the (COVID-19) pandemic.”
Locke will remain the health officer for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe.
Locke expects the full transition to occur over the next month.
“Given the fact that we’re in the midst of a pandemic, we really need to move fast, but fortunately we have the luxury of a transition that can take as much time as it takes,” Locke said in a phone interview Thursday. “Dr. Berry will be able to ease into the role while I ease out of it.
“I think it’s a really good move. I’m 70-years-old and probably well past the age that any sensible person would retire, and I’m not technically retiring at this point.
“We’re going through a transition and I think the board really feels like Berry will be an excellent health officer for both counties.”
Berry is excited to step into the new role. She sees natural points for public health collaborations between the two counties.
“I’m really looking forward to serving the people of Jefferson County,” she said.
“I know I have big shoes to fill, but I’m excited for the opportunity to work hard for these two communities.”
Locke presented the resolution for the change to the Jefferson County Board of Health, which voted unanimously to appoint Berry and Locke to their new positions.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]