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A-1 TRUCK Maurer Electric Advanced Auto Glass Lundy Financial Services East Side Tire Scheurer Hospital Kevin Rice Dirty Time Landscaping ABC OIL Osentoski Bad Axe JW Hunt AVCI.net A&B Auto Repair Osentoski Morrel Equipment KINDINGER & KROLL Tri-Country Equipment Ed's Bump Shop
Advanced Auto Glass Lundy Financial Services East Side Tire Scheurer Hospital Kevin Rice Dirty Time Landscaping ABC OIL Osentoski Bad Axe JW Hunt AVCI.net A&B Auto Repair Osentoski Morrel Equipment KINDINGER & KROLL Tri-Country Equipment Ed's Bump Shop A-1 TRUCK Maurer Electric

 

Tuscola Commissioners question Huron's decision on Health Officer

Mary Drier

Sun, 18 Jul 2021 12:14:12 EDT

 


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Although Huron County Commissioners approved the recommendation for a joint health officer who would also serve Tuscola County, Tuscola's commissioners have grave reservations about the selection. Huron County's officials supported environmental health officer Eugene "Tip" MacGuire to succeed soon to retire Ann Hepfer as the health officer, who would serve both counties. Hepfer presented MacGuire to Tuscola commissioners at their committee of the whole meeting July 12. A committee of the whole meeting is informational only and formal action cannot be taken. There was only a brief discussion with a few questions asked at that meeting. However, that was different when Tuscola had a full board meeting two days later on July 15. There was a lot of discussion and many concerns raised about MacGuire's qualifications. "I have thought a lot about this. When I look at what we have been presented from the health department over the last year. The largest part of the health director's job is health with the oversight of health in this county," said Commissioner Dan Grimshaw noting everything a health officer does and oversees is medical related. "We were presented with someone who has zero experience in health. To me, that is frankly unacceptable. "To hire someone for medical operations, they should have some background in medical - not just sewer and wells. That is my concern." MacGuire has been the Environmental Health Director of both the Tuscola and Huron County Health Department for over 12 years, and he has over 27 years of Environmental/Public Health experience. He earned a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Health at Ferris State University in May 1993.
"Through my experience I have obtained an excellent reputation for resolving problems, collaborating with state agencies and business, and serving the public," MacGuire noted. MacGuire is also a registered sanitarian,,has a food service management certification, all of the required FEMIA certifications, and more. He has also conducted Foodborne Investigations and works directly with epidemiologists from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, collaborated with the Public Health Division on the organization, logistics, and immunization of community members at COVID-19 vaccination clinics, and partnered with toxicologists and epidemiologists in the investigation of Legionnaires' disease. "What caught me my surprise were Tip's credentials. Tip is an environmental engineer (and good at that), but this position is for two health departments. He has no medical. To oversee two health departments, I expect to have someone who has a clinical background and some medical experience," said Tuscola Board Chair Thom Bardwell. "I dont see that here, and that concerns me." Grimshaw expressed the same. "I dont know what Huron County's thinking as to why they would propose to hire him in the position," Grimshaw said. "I think we need to step back and really look at this." "I have to question the committee who made this selection and what criteria they used. It doesn't add up." The process for finding someone to replace Hepfer, who plans to retire Sept. 30, included a board made up of two commissioners from each county, the chairs from each county's board of health, and Hepfer. According to Commissioner Kim Vaughan, who sits on Tuscola's Board of Health, the interview process was limited. "The interview had guided questions. I had some major concerns and questions, but the questions that were asked were scripted, additional questions were limited," Vaughan said. "The questions and the selection were based on a point system. Zero points in some areas, more in others could still be qualified... that is what I understood." Because Vaughan also had some reservations with the MacGuire's qualifications, he suggested the possibility to reach out further for more candidates. Bardwell said he is also concerned that Hepfer's proposed successor doesnt have any medical or clinical background. "I never thought anyone would be brought forward that didn't have that. We represent our residents and their health," Bardwell said. "And, what about liability in taking the (court) stand to answer clinical and procedural questions?" "I think this board needs to weigh very heavily the issue of qualifications with the health department's leader." Bardwell said he talked to Huron County's Commission chair Sami Khoury about his and fellow commissioners' concerns. "The more we talked it sounded like he started having concerns and might be taking it back to his board," Bardwell said. "This might not be done yet." Bardwell then recommended asking for a wider search for health officer candidates with a minimum qualification a B.S.M. And clinical background and experience." And, fellow commissioners agreed. Hepfer noted It was just recently that some applications for the position came in, and there were only a few, and MacGuire decided to apply at the last minute. Three of the seven applicants were selected for interviews. "One of the three decided to back out before the interview," explained Hepfer, noting that left MacGuire and a woman who comes from a military background." The finalists resumes have been sent to DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) for their preliminary approval." And, DHHS has ruled the candidates are qualified. Both counties have to approve the selection, but the final approval for a health officer comes from the DHHS.




   

 

 

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