Mass. GOP lawmakers call for official to depart

Updated:

BOSTON (AP) — Governor Deval Patrick says state Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby continues to have his support.

Republicans in the state Legislature sent a letter to Patrick on Thursday asking that Bigby be removed from her post if she does not resign.

The GOP cited "poor management" by Bigby in the aftermath of two recent crises: The alleged tampering with drug tests at a former Department of Public Health lab, and a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to a Framingham compounding pharmacy that was regulated by the state.

Minority leader Brad Jones said at a news conference on Thursday that the agency desperately needs new leadership.

But a spokeswoman for Patrick said in a statement that the governor has confidence in Bigby's ability to fix what went wrong and restore public confidence in the department.