|
|
|
The Telegram
  • Acting Public Health director named



  • Christina Cain has been appointed acting director of Herkimer County Public Health.

    In announcing the appointment, legislature Chairman Vincent Bono said Cain will begin her duties on Nov. 25 and will serve in the role until the county is able to permanently fill the position.

    • email print
  • Christina Cain has been appointed acting director of Herkimer County Public Health.
    In announcing the appointment, legislature Chairman Vincent Bono said Cain will begin her duties on Nov. 25 and will serve in the role until the county is able to permanently fill the position.
    A resident of Dolgeville, Cain will fill the vacancy created by the departure of Dr. Gregory O’Keefe, who announced his resignation last week. O’Keefe’s resignation will take effect on Nov. 24.
    “I am confident in Christina’s abilities to lead the county’s Public Health Department,” Bono, R - Schuyler, said Monday afternoon. “With her experience and familiarity with the department and the county, the legislature and myself know she is more than capable to serve as acting director.”
    Cain, a current Herkimer County Public Health employee, previously worked as the lead poisoning prevention program coordinator, a registered nurse and childbirth educator, according to her resume.
    She also is employed part-time as a genetic counselor at the Ferre Institute.
    The appointment was made during a special meeting of the legislature in a unanimous vote with five legislators absent. The salary for the acting director’s position will be $60,000 annually.
    Legislator Helen Rose, D - Herkimer, did not question the need for an acting director of Public Health or Cain’s credentials, but did question how the process of selecting an acting director was conducted.
    Rose said prior to the meeting of the legislature’s Committees on Human Resources on Ways and Means on Nov. 15 it was announced Cain would be appointed acting director on Nov. 19.
    “Dr. O’Keefe announced his resignation on Nov. 13 and before the committees responsible for choosing a course of action were able to convene two days later the name of the acting director was announced,” she said. “I would hope when it comes time to announce the permanent director the committees responsible for putting the name of the candidate forward, as well as the legislature which must approve the appointment, are given time to fully discuss the merits of the candidate.”
    Rose and Legislator Gary Hartman, D - Herkimer, also called on the county to reach out to lawmakers in neighboring counties about the possibility of sharing a Public Health director.
    “Now that the county is advertising the position there is an opportunity for the legislature to reach out to another county to gauge if there is interest in sharing a Public Health director as a cost savings to not only Herkimer County taxpayers, but to taxpayers in another county,” said Hartman.
    O’Keefe said he is looking to focus on his private practice more while also taking on the role of Herkimer County jail physician. He said he will be there to help the legislature with transitional needs.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I’ve done this for 10 years, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely,” he said. “I’ve had a chance to work with some really wonderful people in every part of county government.”
    The legislature recently approved the hiring of an assistant director effective Jan. 1, 2013, at a base salary of $50,000. County Administrator James Wallace, however, said the search for an assistant director has not begun. “That’s why we need to appoint an acting director,” he said.
    Cain could not be reached for comment Monday.
    Contributing: GateHouse News Service

        calendar