KITV 4 ABC | Department of Health whistleblower says she was placed on leave
September 9, 2020
In The News
Whistleblower at the Department of Health and case investigator Jennifer Smith says that she was placed on leave.
NOTE: Video of segment included at kitv.com, includes statement from Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.
She was the first to sound the alarm on the the state's understaffed COVID-19 contact tracing program.
A health department spokesperson confirmed Smith is on leave, but did not provide any further details.
Hawaii U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a big critic of the department was by Smith's side when she came forward, she calls the move retaliation.
"It sends a very chilling message to any employee within the state government that if you speak out when you see something that's wrong, that's negatively affecting the people of Hawaii then you too may be punished," Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said.
Director Bruce Anderson announced his retirement, State Epidemiologist Sarah Park was placed on leave and after less than a month on the job Doctor Emily Roberson who had been put in charge of the contact tracing program also asked for time off.