Board of Health agrees on new structure, appoints new officers

As Public Health transitions to be a department under the county rather than Henry County Health Center, the Board of Health has landed on an organizational structure for who reports to whom under Board of Health.

In the Board of Health meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 9, the board discussed the organizational structure, appointed a new chair as current chair Rose Lauer steps down, and further discussed their transition to county operations.

Home care aides under Public Health will report to the senior health coordinator who will report to the Public Health Director. Public Health staff also will report to the Public Health director along with the Healthy Henry County Communities (HHCC) executive director.

The board approved the memorandum of understanding with HHCC, with the HHCC coordinator serving as a Public Health Employee. The current HHCC coordinator is Kelly Carr, who will sign a two-year contract with Public Health that can be renewed. In turn, Carr reports to the HHCC board, which remains its own separate nonprofit 501(c) (3). Carr can present HHCC updates at Board of Health meetings.

Because he believed the two boards should stay separate, Greg Moeller stepped down from his position on the HHCC board on Thursday, Jan. 4, because he is now serving on the Board of Health. Gary See took Moeller?s place on the HHCC board as a county supervisor.

As Lauer is stepping down from the Board of Health after 12 years of service she also will be stepping down from her position on the HHCC board as a Board of Health representative. The Board of Health is potentially looking for a representative for HHCC meetings.

?It?s really important, I think,? Lauer said, explaining that Carr chooses people from different areas in the community to serve on the HHCC board for more well-rounded input.

Also under the new organizational structure, an environmental specialist will now be an employee under the county rather than a contracted person under Public Health. The environmental specialist will report to the Board of Health.

The Board of Health will report to Henry County Board of Supervisors.

Changes in organizational structure take place July 1, when the new fiscal year with the county begins and Public Health?s 30-year agreement with HCHC is terminated on June 30.

With Tuesday being Lauer?s last meeting, Buzz Benzoni was elected chair of Board of Health. Moeller was appointed vice-chair and Joni Manske was appointed secretary.

In other news, Public Health has received two applications in their search for a new director. Currently, Shelley Van Dorin is serving as interim director and is one of the two applicants. Michelle Roselle got approval from the board to remove the job listing from various job recruitment websites.

Lauer suggested looking at both candidates and interviewing them based on their qualifications for the position. Berdette Ogden, Iowa Department of Public Health Regional Director, agreed, saying that formally, both applicants should be interviewed.

However, Lauer also said the other applicant does not have public health experience while Van Dorin knows well how Henry County?s Public Health operates.

?She knows this position,? Lauer said. ?She knows the staff. This transition is going to be difficult for them. Always in this department, we have had someone who has experience.?

Benzoni agrees that Van Dorin has proved herself as capable of handling Public Health as director.

?After seeing the quality of work by (Van Dorin), I think we stick with quality we have,? Benzoni said. ?We know her work ethic.?

Interviews for the two applicants will take place in the next few weeks and a recommendation will be made at the next Board of Health meeting.

As the meeting concluded, Van Dorin thanked Lauer for her 12 years of service. ?I have no idea where we?d be without you and we?ll miss you greatly,? she said.

?I?ve tried to think of all the Board of Health members I?ve worked with over the years, and I can?t remember,? Lauer said. ?I just want to thank you.?

As Benzoni officially took his position as chair with Lauer stepping down, he said, ?Rose, I want you to know, I have your number,? he concluded, as the board erupted in laughter.

The next Board of Health meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 20.