SOUTHINGTON — The director of the Plainville-Southington Regional Health District will be resigning at the end of the week to accept a public health position in Florida.
“I want to thank you all for the support over the years, I really appreciate it,” Shane Lockwood told the Southington Town Council after delivering his last COVID-19 update during Monday’s council meeting.
According to Plainville Town Manager Robert Lee, Lockwood will be accepting a position as a county health director in Florida. Lockwood was not available to comment for this story.
“We’re going to miss Shane, he was hired right in early 2012 … he’s a very knowledgeable person and I give him a lot of credit for the success of our regional health district over the nearly ten years he’s worked with us. He’s taken us from infancy … he’s guided us through this pandemic,” Lee said.
The district was formed in 2011 when Southington’s then-health director was looking to retire. Plainville was simultaneously considering a shift from a part-time to a full-time health director, leading the two towns to decide to merge public health operations, Lee said. Lockwood was the district’s first permanent director.
Southington Town Manager Mark Sciota said Lockwood was invaluable in guiding the town through the coronavirus pandemic thus far.
“I wish I could say he was staying, but I can’t fault anyone for moving onto what they feel is a better opportunity. Speaking on behalf of all four administrators — Southington, Plainville, Middlefield and Durham — we couldn’t have made it through the last 18 months without him,” he said.
The application period for the district’s next director closes on Sept. 17. After that, the district’s board of directors will likely hold interviews, Lee said. The board is comprised of five representatives from Southington, two from Plainville and one from Middlefield. Lee, a member of the board, said he hopes to find a candidate with Lockwood’s skillset and calm demeanor.
“We wish Shane well down in Florida. He's been a pleasure to work with, a great personality, very open … we hope to find someone who has similar qualities,” he said.
The district’s public health specialist, Sue Jacozzi, will be serving as interim director during the hiring process.