Officials re-advertise health director position | ParkRecord.com
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Officials re-advertise health director position

Officials re-advertised for applicants to lead the Summit County Health Department after declining to hire someone from a first pool of finalists.

They are looking for someone to replace Steve Jenkins, the former director of the Summit County Health Department who retired last spring.

Officials a few weeks ago had narrowed the search from about 50 applicants to four finalists.

"We brought it down to our top four and then two of our top four dropped out. One got another job and the other just changed his mind and wanted to stay where they were at," Summit County Manager Bob Jasper said. "It was disappointing that two of our best candidates dropped out. That’s a little unusual and we decided to go back out."

Nearly 60 applicants have replied to the second advertisement.

"We’ve picked out another five or six to do a phone interview with or hopefully a video interview with," Jasper said.

Those interviews could begin within a week, he added.

"The two (finalists) remaining from the previous selection process will automatically go into the final group," Jasper said.

Among the finalists in the first round was Brent Ovard, the interim director of the Summit County Health Department.

"Whoever leads the health department in the future, that is a big job and with any luck it’s a long-term job," Jasper said. "You want to make sure you’ve got the right person. If it takes a few more months, so be it. The health department is doing fine right now with an interim director."

The health director is one of the highest paid positions in the County Courthouse.

"Health directors have tremendous emergency powers. You get in the middle of something and they can quarantine, they can do all kinds of things that need to be done to protect the public health, and those are tough choices," Jasper said. "We just want to make sure that we do it right. We want to get the right person who will fit this community and has the skills and leadership talents that you need to run a major county department."

Hiring the health director could take about a month, he said.

Meanwhile, a public health nurse was recently let go in Summit County because health problems had kept her away from work for too long.

Nurse Diana Maxell, who worked for Summit County for about 18 years, had been away from her office for about six months, which spurred county officials to dismiss her from her position in the department, according to Brian Bellamy, director of human resources in Summit County.

"We have a policy in the county that if an employee goes on short-term or long-term disability, and they do not come to work for six months, we release them from work," Bellamy said. "Instead of keeping the department with an empty slot, we sever the relationship The reason they are on disability is because they can’t do their job anymore."


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