Assistant for Southern Nevada health chief put on leave

The executive assistant to Southern Nevada’s chief health officer was placed on administrative leave Tuesday, five days after she publicly questioned the decision to appoint Dr. John Middaugh as interim chief.

Jennifer Sizemore, spokeswoman for the health district, said she did not know that Shelli Clark had been placed on leave before the Las Vegas Review-Journal contacted her Tuesday. The Review-Journal learned about the development from an anonymous caller.

After looking into the matter, Sizemore left the following voicemail message with a Review-Journal reporter:

“I can confirm for you that Shelli Clark was placed on administrative leave. Because it is a personnel matter, we don’t provide any more details than that.”

Clark spoke out Thursday after the health district board accepted the resignation of Dr. Lawrence Sands, who has overseen the district since March 2007, and appointed Middaugh.

“I do not support your choice today, and I’m sorry for that,” she told the board.

Clark also defended Sands against previous allegations that he had yelled at and bullied employees.

She said she had worked alongside Sands for more than seven years and only heard him raise his voice once. She said he only did so in that instance to restore decorum at a meeting, and he later apologized.

After the board meeting, Clark explained why she objected to Middaugh’s appointment as interim chief.

“I just don’t feel that he’s given Dr. Sands 100 percent support, and I just don’t feel that he’s completely trustworthy at this point,” she told the Review-Journal.

Clark said she understood her comments could get her into trouble but added, “I also said that I will continue to do my job 150 percent.”

“My service is to the district and the board and the public,” she said.

Attempts to reach both Clark and Middaugh for comment Tuesday were not successful.

Middaugh previously worked as director of the health district’s division of community health.

He was appointed interim chief through August 2013 or until a permanent chief is selected. His appointment took effect Monday.

Middaugh will receive the same annual salary Sands received while serving as chief: $241,000.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at or 702-384-8710.

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