Washington County seeks health administrator

The Washington County Board of Health is seeking applicants for a full-time department administrator.

Following a nearly hour-long executive session discussion Tuesday, the board voted to post the job description, void of any coinciding duties previously performed by the former Director of Population Health Court Witschey, whose final day in the office was Tuesday.

Witschey is moving on to a position in Athens.

Board President Bruce Kelbaugh said a payscale would not be posted with the job description, and that the board would instead entertain additional applications to negotiate pay based upon experience. Two applications have already been submitted to the county human resources director, according to Kelbaugh.

“My opinion is we get the day-to-day administrator role filled first,” said Kelbaugh, when asked if Witschey’s director position would also be posted for hire.

Meanwhile, the Interim Health Commissioner Dick Wittberg will remain in office through Nov. 8, on a part-time basis of up to 8-hours per two-week pay period at an hourly rate of $25 per hour.

The board confirmed Tuesday that Wittberg will continue to sign orders and payroll authorization until a full-time administrator is hired.

In regular business, the board also approved the current bills and general fund reports for the department, noting that the carry-forward balance projected will be less for 2020 than what the department carried into 2019 by approximately $23,000.

The board also discussed during the environmental health report a backlog of work with the understaffed section of the health department.

“I am swamped, drowning and sinking faster,” said Director of Environmental Health Josh Lane, the department’s only registered sanitarian.

Lane listed backlogs within not only sewer and septic inspections but also keeping up with health and nuisance complaints has buried his department.

Belpre Township Trustee Asa Boring said if the nuisance complaints concern tall grass and weeds, to refer those complaints to township trustees to take care of.

Muskingum Township Trustee Gary Doan, who also serves as president of the county trustee association, confirmed Muskingum’s avenue for taking care of tall grass by sending a letter notice to fix the issue in 10 days or be fined the cost to mow.

“They’ll pay them in our township, or we’ll take their property,” added Boring, when asked how those bills are followed through upon when consistently across the county bills assessed to property taxes on blighted properties go unpaid.

The board’s next regular business meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 10.