One of Orange County’s top public health officials was investigated as part of an internal investigation this summer, with officials so far declining to say what the inquiry found.
County officials, in response to a Public Records Act request from Voice of OC, confirmed they investigated claims against Dr. Margaret Bredehoft, the county’s deputy director for public health.
The confirmation came in response to a records request for any substantiated allegations against Bredehoft related to discriminatory hiring practices, retaliation and hostile workplace.
Bredehoft declined to comment when reached by phone Friday.
“I really don’t have anything to say,” she said, before adding that she could not comment and quickly ending the phone call.
Health Care Agency officials declined to comment about hostile workplace investigations in their department when asked by Voice of OC during a Friday conference call with reporters, which the county does not broadcast to the public.
Asked what the investigations’ status is, and whether any of it is affecting the agency’s ability to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, county Deputy Health Officer Regina Chinsio-Kwong deferred comment to county CEO Frank Kim.
Kim, who is on vacation, didn’t return phone messages for comment.
His spokeswoman, Molly Nichelson, declined to comment.
“The County doesn’t comment on personnel matters,” she said.
Health Care Agency Director Clayton Chau, who also serves as the county health officer, didn’t return phone messages for comment.
While county officials wouldn’t comment on the investigation or provide records, they had to confirm its existence because of the California Public Records Act.
Bredehoft started at the county last August after being hired from the private sector, where she worked as director of strategy and operations at Providence St. Joseph Health, which runs the largest hospital system in Orange County.
She spoke at county public briefings earlier in the year, after largely overseeing the controversial rollout of the county’s Othena vaccination-scheduling app.
But Bredehoft hasn’t participated in the county’s more recent news conferences.
The Health Care Agency has been grappling with OC’s third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, which has hospitalized hundreds of residents.
On Friday, county officials reported 14 new deaths in OC from Covid-19, with 500 people currently hospitalized with coronavirus, of whom 138 were in intensive care.Health officials say they expect more COVID deaths in the coming weeks following the rise in Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
Nick Gerda covers county government for Voice of OC. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.