Vacancies filled on Hancock County Health Board

NEW CUMBERLAND — Two people have filled the remaining vacancies on the Hancock County Board of Health.

The Hancock County Commission, Thursday, approved the appointments of Sandy Haskell and Laura Nicole Glass to the county health board, joining current members John Plesa, who serves as the board’s chair; Sam DeCapio and Anthony Palavis.

According to Commissioner Paul Cowey, Haskell will represent the Butler District on the board and is affiliated with the Democratic party, while Commissioner Joe Barnabei said Glass — who is under no party affiliation — will serve on behalf of the Grant District. Glass’ term will conclude on June 30, 2019, while Haskell’s will expire June 30, 2020.

Haskell and Glass were among 10 applicants who applied for the positions.

The vacancies come following the departures of Kyle McPherson and Phil Rujak, who left their positions earlier this year.

McPherson, who served on behalf of the Butler District, relocated to the Clay District and because there were no openings to represent the Clay District at that time, McPherson stepped down in late September.

Rujak, meanwhile, resigned from his seat in early October after the board approved a motion to partially amend the county’s smoking ban — which had been in effect since 2014 — to allow smoking in video lottery gaming facilities in the county. The ban, which initially applied to all buildings in the county, still applies to restaurants and other locations.

According to reports from the Oct. 9 meeting, the decision to amend the ban was to boost the tax base in order to handle other health initiatives. Rujak was strongly against the move, and so was then-county public health officer Dr. Anna Suray, who also submitted her resignation at the conclusion of that meeting.

Suray has since been replaced by Dr. Christopher Rhody, who now serves on an interim basis until a permanent officer can be found.

Meanwhile, in other personnel matters, the commission approved the retirement request of Bettie Wade, who has served as a full-time dispatcher for the county’s 911 Center for the past 22 years. Wade’s retirement will go into effect Dec. 31, and as part of her request, she will receive any additional vacation time that she had accrued. Wade also agreed to remain on in a part-time capacity to help fill turns as needed.

Also approved on Thursday was a request for the advertisement of the position of administrative assistant for the Office of Emergency Management. According to Office of Technology and Communications Executive Director Bob Vidas, the candidate must be able to respond to emergency situations and have office management and computer skills. The position was previously held by Sharon Ulbright, who retired last week.

In addition, the commission approved the hiring of Carsey Leasure and Brian Dillon, both of whom will serve as janitors/maintenance personnel. According to Cowey, 10 candidates also applied for this position.

(Rappach can be contacted at srappach@reviewonline.com)

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