The Metro Public Health Department has accepted resignations from Les Bowron and Brian Todd, senior staff members who had been with Metro for a combined 40 years. Todd was the Metro Health’s director of communications, and Bowron was the department’s human resources manager.
The shakeup follows months of open conflict between Bowron, Todd and Metro’s Bureau of Health Equity, led by Stephanie Kang. Todd filed a complaint against Kang in November, alleging she had violated his civil rights by referring to Todd by his race. Both men are white. Todd was suspended earlier this year for alleged inappropriate workplace behavior. In June, the Scene reported that Bowron had filed two public records requests targeting communications between board members and his colleagues at the department, including Kang. He has since filed a third request, focused solely on Kang.
Tensions originated with a staffwide memo circulated in the department after the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, a white teenager who shot three people with an AR-15 in August 2020. The memo, approved by health department Director Gill Wright, referred to the verdict as an injustice and recognized that it may be potentially traumatic or upsetting for employees. Todd openly condemned the memo, a stance that evolved into criticisms of Kang and the Health Equity Bureau in general. Bowron was tasked with adjudicating the conflict. His office issued a report in late December that praised Todd for 25 years of employment and recommended coaching Kang on how to discuss race less aggressively.
Metro has enlisted Luther Wright to lead a review of human resources practices within the department. Wright is an attorney at Ogletree Deakins and specializes in workplace disputes, including acts of discrimination and violence.
Public Health Department spokesperson Matt Peters declined to comment on the resignations, citing a department policy against making statements about specific personnel. Bowron and Todd could not be reached for comment.