Health commissioner’s resignation paves way for newcomer to repair frayed relations

State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker’s resignation Thursday brought to a close his seven and a half years at the department. Although toward the end of his tenure he faced calls for his dismissal over his involvement in the state’s much-criticized handling of matters related to Covid-19, experts said Zucker can help restore faith in the Health Department by working toward a smooth transition.

Zucker, who joined the department in 2013 and was appointed commissioner in 2015, served the longest tenure of any state health commissioner since David Axelrod, according to the Department of Health. Axelrod held the title for 12 years, from 1979 to 1991.

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