Dr. Randall Williams steps down as Missouri’s health director

Politics

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Governor Parson accepted a letter of resignation from Dr. Randall Williams earlier today. He has named Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Knodell as Acting Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. Drew Erdmann, Chief Operating Officer, has also resigned today.

“Dr. Williams has been a huge asset to Missouri, especially this past year in dealing with COVID-19,” Governor Parson writes. “We greatly appreciate all the work he has done for the people of our state and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) said in a statement Tuesday she was glad to see Williams resign. 

“Williams led the state’s failed response to COVID-19 and routinely refused to answer basic questions to lawmakers,” Quade said. “Through it all he somehow managed to keep his job. With his sudden and unexplained resignation, one can’t help but wonder what finally convinced the governor to show him the door.”

Parson did not say why Williams was resigning but said he appointed Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Knodell as Acting Director of the department of health. 

 Robert Knodell

Knodell served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Parson since 2017. The governor’s office says that he has taken a leading role in vaccine rollout and distribution in Missouri.

“For more than a year, he has also played a leading role in Missourian’s COVID-19 response efforts, and I am more than confident in him to take over as Acting Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services,” Parson said. 

Representative LaDonna Appelbaum (D-St. Louis) serves on the House Health and Mental Health Committee, doesn’t think Knodell is fit for the job.

“Knodell has no background in public health, and as the ‘czar’ of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, he shoulders much of the blame for the state’s early failures to provide vaccines to urban and suburban areas,” Appelbaum said. “Missouri still places near the bottom of states for percentage of the population vaccinated. Missourians deserve a DHSS director with experience in public health who will use the authority of the office to help the people of this state, instead of boosting his political profile. That would be a welcome departure from what we’ve had the past four years.”

Our Missouri Chief Capitol Bureau Reporter Emily Manley reached out to Parson’s office asking to see the resignation letters and to see if there was a reason why Erdmann and Willaims resigned but has not heard back.

Manley also reached out to Williams, but he has not returned her phone call.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.

Popular

Latest News

More News

Tweets from reporters: