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The Placer County Board of Supervisors found a special way Tuesday to thank Dr. Richard J. Burton for 30 years of public service while congratulating him on his upcoming retirement.

Board members voted unanimously to adopt a resolution commending Dr. Burton for a career that included almost a decade serving in two key county posts simultaneously. He has been Public Health Officer for the last 17 years and has also served as director of the Health and Human Services Department for the past 10 years.

Board Chairman Jim Holmes gave the ceremony a special twist by also honoring Dr. Burton with a commemorative coin created for a program established by the board in 2002. The coins recognize acts of heroism, longstanding community service and exceptional acts that dramatically improved or impacted people’s lives.

Normally, commemorative coins are presented to one or more recipients from each of the five supervisor districts during a single ceremony each year.

During Tuesday’s ceremony, Chairman Holmes cited Dr. Burton’s “exemplary leadership and impressive legacy on behalf of Placer County residents,” presenting him with a plaque containing the resolution with the commemorative coin inlaid on one side. Meanwhile, the other board members joined the audience in a standing ovation.

 “Dr. Burton is well known and respected for his unwavering dedication to public service and a strong commitment to protecting the County’s most vulnerable residents and to improving health and wellness in communities throughout Placer County,” Chairman Holmes said

“Thank you very much for the opportunity to have been a part of the Placer team,” Dr. Burton told board members in response. “It certainly has been a pleasure and a privilege to be able to work for Placer County and have the experiences that I have been able to share with the other employees. I appreciate the encouragement and counsel from all of you, previous board members, county execs and employees of Placer County.”

The resolution adopted by the board emphasizes that Dr. Burton has been a guiding light in his department’s implementation of the “Placer Model,” a collaborative, integrated approach that is known nationwide for providing high-quality, cost-effective services to the public.

The resolution also saluted Dr. Burton for a leadership style that combined a willingness to share credit for his department’s successes with his staff, clients and community groups; and a commitment to team-building that ensured he will leave behind a team dedicated to providing outstanding services to the public.

In 2000, Placer County recognized Dr. Burton’s contributions by presenting him with its Outstanding Leadership Award.

With Placer County’s support, Dr. Burton took a temporary assignment as State Epidemiologist and Associate Director of the California Department of Health Services in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks because his expertise and leadership were needed to help coordinate the state’s emerging bioterrorism-preparedness efforts.

His 30-year career also included service as a Naval Flight Surgeon.

The commemorative coins feature the county seal on one side. On the other side are the word “hero” and the image of an eagle with a star and sun rays in the background. The second side of the coin was designed by J. Randal Smith, an Auburn native who is a nationally known artist. His design won a competition coordinated by PlacerArts.

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