After nearly 11 years as the Alexandria Health Department Director, Dr. Stephen Haering suddenly announced his retirement, effective immediately, on Friday.
Mayor Justin Wilson said he was shocked by the news.
“Dr. Haering has been essential to our efforts over the past year to address COVID,” Wilson told ALXnow. “His retirement is a shock and he leaves huge shoes to fill. For now, I am full of gratitude for his tireless service to our City.”
The city did not provide information on his next steps, and the reason for his departure was not made public.
City Councilman John Taylor Chapman said that Haering will be missed.
“Dr. Haering has been a tireless advocate for residents and businesses throughout the pandemic,” Chapman said. “His leadership will be missed.”
City Manager Mark Jinks commended Haering for his work.
“Dr. Haering’s leadership was key to Alexandria’s ability to respond quickly and nimbly to the COVID-19 pandemic in our community,” Jinks said in a statement. “His almost 11 years of service to our community have made Alexandria safer, healthier and more resilient. We wish him well in his retirement.”
According to the City, Dr. Anne Gaddy, the AHD deputy director, has been named as Acting Health Director by the Virginia Department of Health, effective immediately. Gaddy was presiouly tasked with planning, organizing and administering Alexandria’s vaccination processes.
Sheriff Dana Lawhorne said he enjoyed working with Haering.
“I’m forever grateful to him for his tireless efforts to accelerate vaccinations for my staff,” Lawhorne said. “You always knew that when the going got tough, he got going. He never let you down. I’m going to miss him.”