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Gov. Ricketts says he tried to persuade Nebraska's chief medical officer not to resign


LINCOLN, Nebraska — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts says he urged the state's chief medical officer not to resign last week after he failed to win initial confirmation from lawmakers.

The governor said Tuesday that Dr. Joseph Acierno decided to step down even after Ricketts expressed confidence in his work.

Lawmakers failed to confirm Acierno during an initial vote last week, with some senators accusing him of being arrogant and an obstacle to changes they wanted made. They reconsidered their decision the next day and confirmed him on a 34-6 vote.

Ricketts says Acierno told him that the first vote had undermined his ability to do his job. Ricketts praised Acierno for his eight years of service, including his involvement with the Nebraska Medical Center's treatment of Ebola patients.

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