Colorado chief medical officer resigns following scandal involving state laboratory

DENVER - Colorado's chief medical officer is resigning, less than a week after the release of a state report raising questions about a laboratory under his supervision.

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the resignation Thursday. Dr. Chris Urbina is executive director of Colorado's Department of Public Health and Environment.

"Chris is a true public servant and valued member of our Cabinet," Hickenlooper said in a written statement.

A March report from an employee consulting firm said some workers of the lab at CDPHE complained that a supervisor made statements suggesting a bias in favor of prosecutors. The state released the report last week. Urbina said the supervisor was later reassigned.

Defense attorney said the report raised the possibility of thousands of appeals to drunken-driving convictions.

Hickenlooper's statement about the resignation didn't mention the lab scandal, but included this quote from Urbina:

"While I am stepping down to explore other opportunities, I look forward to continue supporting the governor and the department on these issues into the future. I also want to thank the governor for the opportunity to serve the people of Colorado."

Eric Brown, a spokesman for the Governor, said in an email to the Associated Press that he didn't "have anything to add to what's in the press release."

Karin McGowan, deputy director of CDPHE, will serve as interim executive director and a search for a permanent replacement will start immediately.

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