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Lancaster County attorney to drop legal challenge to newly appointed health director
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Lancaster County attorney to drop legal challenge to newly appointed health director

From the Milestones in Nebraska's coronavirus fight series
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Lancaster County Attorney Pat Condon will drop his challenge to the legal authority of local health Director Pat Lopez, following her unanimous confirmation to permanently lead the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. 

Last week, Condon had said Lopez, then-interim Health Department director, had not been properly appointed to her role and he would pursue a court order ousting her from the office unless she was properly appointed. 

Pat Condon

Lancaster County Attorney Pat Condon.

Lopez took over as interim director in May 2019 after then-director Shavonna Lausterer took a medical leave before she died of breast cancer. 

The registered nurse and career public health professional remained in her post in January after an unsuccessful permanent search for a new director. 

Maskless testifiers oppose health director's appointment, but council approves her anyway

Lancaster County Board and the local Board of Health joined the Lincoln City Council this week in unanimously approving Lopez's appointment. 

City Council

Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department Director Pat Lopez attends a City Council meeting on her permanent appointment on Monday, Aug. 17. Ben Madsen, owner of Madsen's Bowling and Billiards, is pictured in the background at a hearing where he opposed her appointment.

In a news release Tuesday, Condon said he considered the matter completed. 

"Pursuant of the quo warranto action was, and has always been, about the statutory process by which the Lincoln-Lancaster County Board of Health Director is to be nominated and approved, and the statutory duty of the County Attorney to enforce this process if it is not followed," Condon said in a news release. 

Cases continue to drop in Lincoln; Health Department tracking test result turnaround time

Condon's questioning of Lopez arose after Madsen's Bowling and Billiards' attorney raised the issue in a court case over the Health Department's closure of the business for violating the mask mandate.

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Photos: Lincoln during the pandemic

Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

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