Three months after her controversial decision regarding the Shirley Wind Farm, Brown County Health Director Chua Xiong has resigned.
Xiong has been “offered a great job opportunity,” County Executive Troy Streckenbach said in an email. He didn’t elaborate, deferring to Xiong. He said she submitted her resignation March 4.
“You would have to ask Chua,” he said.
Xiong was not immediately available for comment Wednesday evening.
Streckenbach notified department heads in an email Wednesday afternoon. Xiong’s last day of work will be Friday. A search for her successor has begun.
Since early December, Xiong had been under fire from opponents of the Shirley Wind Farm, including the retired physician who leads the county Board of Health, Jay Tibbetts.
Xiong ruled that insufficient evidence exists to link wind turbines to illnesses reported by people who live near them. That prompted the Brown County Citizens for Responsible Wind Energy, a citizens’ group, to issue a statement declaring “Health Director Xiong is Wrong.” Some people living near the eight turbines in southern Brown County claim low-frequency noise from the turbines cause sleep disturbances, vertigo and various other health issues.
The Board of Health had ruled in 2014 that noise from the turbines poses a health hazard.
County lawmakers gave her mixed reviews.
“She did an excellent job serving the county,” said Supervisor Dan Robinson of De Pere.
But Human Services Committee Chairman Patrick Evans of Green Bay said her performance had not matched the promise she had shown before her appointment, and questioned why she had missed two recent meetings where wind issues were discussed.
“I championed Chua for the director’s position because she’s a very intelligent person,” Evans said Wednesday night. “But I was then disappointed with her leadership abilities. I wish her well.”
Xiong, 46, of Green Bay, joined the health department in 2002. She was promoted to director in 2015, after having been public health nurse manager. She was the lone Asian-American department head in county government.
Streckenbach appointed Debi Armbruster as interim health director. Armbruster, who has more than 40 years of experience as a health professional, was a nurse manager with the department and formerly was executive director of the Hemophilia Outreach Center.
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