Board hires new head of public health
In light of the retirement of public health administrator Edie Nebel at the end of March, the Washington County Board of Health voted to hire Danielle Pettit-Majewski for the position. She has accepted the job offer.
The board held its monthly meeting Tuesday morning where they completed the three-month-long search for a new administrator. The board established a search committee and hired consultant Pat Callahan to assist with the search. The board held the final interviews of three candidates Saturday.
Majewski’s salary will be $65,000. She will begin work March 18 and attend her first board of health meeting March 19.
Nebel delayed her retirement for one month and will work three days a week through March 29.
In other business, the board approved a revised lease with the city of Washington for the space the board rents on the second floor of the former library.
Washington city administrator Brent Hinson attended the meeting. He brought a revised lease with him that raises the monthly rent from $436 a month, including utilities, to $1,000 a month, an amount the board of health agreed on prior to July 1, 2012.
“A little over a year ago, Edie and the mayor and I got together and kind of talked about revising the lease for the upstairs at the (former) library for WIC and Parents as Teachers space,” Hinson said.
At that time, Hinson said the city should bring the rent payments up to a rent of comparable spaces.
Hinson said that during this winter’s budgeting process, he noticed the city’s rent line item was lower than he had expected. He also realized a lease hadn’t been drawn up.
The public health department continued paying the $436 per month rent from July 1, 2012, to the present. The city council, Hinson said, reviewed the situation and decided to ask for a retroactive payment totaling $4,512 for July through February of this fiscal year.
“We bear half of the responsibility,” Hinson said. “I should have gotten you a lease document and it should have been caught earlier.”
“What is the impact on our budget going to be?” Board of Health chairman Jim Miksch asked Nebel.
“We can absorb it,” she said.
“Edie and I had a conversation about this and maybe your first reaction when you hear it is ‘tough luck,’” Miksch said.
Miksch said he thought about it and he said it was appropriate to go ahead with the agreement.
Before approving the agreement, board member Christopher Grier wanted to know what was recorded in the board of health minutes. Nebel read the pertinent portion of the minutes. While the motion in question was “vague,” board member Wendy Miller said, the board did approve the retroactive payment and the revised lease agreement.
Public health fiscal administrator Peggy Wood told the board that a new billing clerk has been hired and that she and the new clerk would be formally trained.
The Public Health Department was without a billing clerk for a few months and Wood took over the billing duty in the interim.
“The lesson learned in the last four months,” Nebel said, “is that we should have every position cross-trained because it was a nightmare.”
Environmental Health director Jeff Thomann asked that his agenda item be deferred for a month. That item was a variance request on a private wastewater system. He said the paperwork has not been completed.
The next meeting is scheduled for 7:15 a.m. Tuesday, March 19, at a location to be determined.