The Floyd County Commissioners have voted to end the tenure of longtime county health officer Dr. Tom Harris.

At Tuesday's meeting, Commissioner John Schellenberger motioned not to reappoint Harris, which was then seconded by Commissioner President and Floyd County Republican Chair Shawn Carruthers. Commissioner Tim Kamer opposed, despite having motioned to table Harris's certification in the Nov. 17 meeting.

None from the three commissioners, all Republicans, discussed the matter before the vote, and all have been vague about their reasoning to maneuver from Harris, the county's top health official. Shortly after the vote, the commissioners released some pot statement.

“We believe the time is now to begin a new chapter for that Health Department,” the statement read. “We have every confidence the department staff, working closely with Baptist Floyd and the Indiana Department of Health, will continue to effectively serve our county once we manage the difficult weeks ahead and eagerly anticipate the vaccines which are hopefully not far off.”

Carruthers and Schellenberger thanked Harris, who has served as health officer since 2006, within the release.

Harris's certification was tabled through the commissioners – the county's legislative and executive body – at their Nov. 17 meeting, despite his reappointment to a different four-year term by the Floyd County Health Department board of directors. Kamer made the motion to postpone the certification and said he needed additional time for “due diligence.”

The tabling came hours after Harris announced new restrictions for Floyd County, mandating that bars close at 10 p.m. and restaurants reduce capacity to 75%. New Albany-Floyd County Schools also announced a choice to change to virtual learning earlier that day.

Harris spoke during public comment at Tuesday's meeting following the vote. He criticized Carruthers and Schellenberger for lack of “effective communication” and “due process.”

“For the record, I'd like to explain a few inconvenient truths here,” Harris said. “The first of which is the before Commissioner Schellenberger or Commissioner Carruthers spoke in my experience directly about COVID-19 related response was Aug. 12. The commissioners, the same two commissioners, are also clearly ignoring the opinion and repetitive vote of the board of health, that is made up of individuals knowledgeable about health within our community.”

Harris's contract expires Dec. 31. The health department board of directors will start the search for a replacement at its December meeting, as COVID-19 cases still increase in Floyd County and throughout Indiana.

Floyd County's 7-day moving average for daily COVID-19 cases is 44, nearly double the amount average from a month ago.