The director of Tarrant County Public Health resigned in early February, county officials announced with a short news release Feb. 6.

Veerinder “Vinny” Taneja gave his resignation effective immediately, according to the release. Deputy County Administrator Tom Stalling was named interim director for Taneja. The county immediately started the process of searching for a permanent replacement for Taneja, the release stated.

The release provided no reason for Taneja’s resignation; however, it came on the heels of a 2022 human resources report describing the county’s public health department as a “toxic” work environment.

The details

In 2021, the county's human resources department received a complaint from a departing employee alleging that "pervasive and persistent bullying from the public health director, Vinny Taneja, and assistant director, Angela Hagy, created a toxic and hostile work environment in the Tarrant County Public Health Department," according to the report Community Impact received in late February through an open records request.

In response to the complaint, the county's human resources department's assistant director and the county's civil service coordinator conducted an investigation with 18 interviews: one with the complainant, two with former employees, 13 with current employees, one with Taneja and one with Hagy, according to the report.

While the report found no evidence Taneja or Hagy broke the law or discriminated against employees, it did find "a large group of current and former employees are deeply unhappy with the public health leadership." The report recommended the county administrator address the complaints regarding Taneja's and Hagy's management style "to help rebuild trust between public health leadership and staff, and to prevent a loss of talent due to the current environment."

Requests for comment from Hagy were not immediately returned.

A look back

Taneja had been with the county since September 2014 and led the department through the COVID-19 pandemic. Hagy was hired in 2020 and is still employed as assistant director with Tarrant County Public Health.