Alexander-Scott deserves high marks; state will pass | Opinion
We use the term when daily life and the nature of events are now different from what they were before the pandemic. We often yearn for what “before was”, resign to some of the changes, and in some cases celebrate new ways of doing business like a silver lining.
Last week’s resignation of the director of the Rhode Island Department of Health certainly played out differently than it would have before March 2020.
It was breaking news Thursday morning when word got out that Governor Dan McKee had reluctantly accepted Dr Nicole Alexander-Scott’s decision to move on.
Before our world changed, this would have been a 2 page newspaper or a TV B block story at most. Little was known about the state health director at the time. And a transition in the leadership of the department would rightly be reported as a mere matter of fact.
The trauma of the rapid onset of COVID propelled Dr. Alexander-Scott into the spotlight. Unlike other states where the focus has remained primarily on presenting the governor, she and former governor Gina Raimondo have become a female version of Batman and Robin, a tandem standing on stage through our live TV screens. daily with information, directions, warnings and requests. In the real-time debut, it was both emergency care and therapy for the frightened audience, taken by surprise by the quick stop and curled up in a collective fetal position.
Briefings eventually slowed, to a few days a week, to a week, and more recently, with McKee, to a few times a month, still live on the radio, but with the soap operas no longer preempted, but rather aired in line.
Yet during this period, Dr. Alexander Scott has undoubtedly made his mark by working tirelessly as the face of the state’s public health expertise and has become a lightning rod as Dr. Fauci of Rhode Island.
She has used some of her electric power to publicly nudge the current governor with less than subtle jabs at the mandatory vaccination and masking policy as he, like his predecessor also did, tried to balance those measures. against protecting the economy and mental health. McKee has correctly avoided any public confrontation, content to leave internal debates on the overall COVID strategy behind the scenes.
It’s an election year, and his gubernatorial opponents can’t help themselves, so they seize on every hint of disagreement from the director and attempt to capitalize on any instance of rupture, conveniently seeing the dynamic in a way one-sided, completely avoiding what they know that if they were in the desired governor’s chair, they too would have a difficult balancing act.
The group running against McKee collectively used the doctor’s resignation as a chance to question the incumbent’s leadership, while other key public officials not running against McKee kept the right focus and deserved focused praise. on Alexander Scott.
Whether the doctor resigned out of impatience with the governor or just normal development and professional opportunity will likely become clear in the near future.
Somehow we know she must be exhausted, deserves a break and our deepest gratitude.
Predictably, the general public will conclude that leadership change is inevitable and that new leadership blood will be refreshing.
Whether she is retiring in a low-key project or continuing in a new-age, high-profile post-COVID role, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott should come away with overall high marks and a wish for good luck for the future. .
Dan Yorke hosts PM Drive on 99.7/AM 630 WPRO, Dan Yorke State of Mind Weekends on Fox Providence/WPRI 12 and owns communications/crisis consultancy DYCOMM LLC.