Board of Health moves to hire new health officer
WEST BRANCH — The District Health Department No. 2 Board of Health voted 6-2 to hire Denise Bryan as health officer during its Sept. 24 meeting.
Bryan is a resident of Comstock Park. A copy of her resume says she has been a public health supervisor at the Kent County Health Department since 1995. She has also worked as an adjunct faculty member at Davenport University and served as a facility and systems manager at Planned Parenthood Centers of West Michigan.
Bryan has a Master of Public Administration degree from Grand Valley State University and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Michigan State University.
Ogemaw County Commissioners Bev Scott and John West voted no on the motion to hire Bryan, stating that they had not heard what she was offered for salary and benefits.
The motion to hire Bryan, made by Oscoda County Commissioner Michael Hunt, did not give a specific salary, but said Bryan would be hired in the advertised salary range, between $70,000 and $86,000.
West told the Herald after the meeting that the board would have to negotiate a salary and benefits with Bryan. He added that he was shocked when Hunt made a motion to hire Bryan, as he never received updates from the board in regards to possibly sharing a health officer with District Health Department No. 4.
“They don’t have a salary,” he said. “They don’t have the benefits package.”
Scott said emails from Bryan said she would need at least $76,000 in salary to take the position, and benefits would have to be negotiated as well. Scott added another candidate, Jim Edmunds, said he would accept the position for a $70,000 salary with limited benefits.
Edmunds was requesting a total monetary compensation package of $91,059, according to Board of Health Chairwoman Kathleen Vichunas.
Scott said a representative from the state sat in on the Board of Health’s July 23 interviews for Bryan, Edmunds and a third candidate, and said Edmunds was 100-percent qualified.
“He’s a sanitarian. He’s a grant writer. He helped write the state health codes,” she said.
Board member William Thompson said, however, Edmunds has not been working in a health department-related field.
“That person that’s 100 percent, from what I can gather, has not been working in health departments,” he said.
West moved to table the motion to hire Bryan, but the motion died with six no votes and two yes votes — West and Scott.
Despite voting no, West said the county will support Bryan when she comes on board. He added that his bigger concern is how the hiring process was handled.
“We are excited that we have a health officer,” he said. “We just have the same problem — that we don’t communicate.”
During the board’s Aug. 21 meeting, the option of pursuing an associate contract with District Health Department No. 4 for health officer services was raised by Board of Health member Michael Hunt. A motion to pursue an agreement passed 5-3.
Sept. 24 Vichunas said the DHD 4 board decided at its most recent meeting not to agree to an associate contract.
The Board of Health for DHD 2, which represents Ogemaw, Oscoda, Alcona and Iosco counties, moved to hire a new health officer to replace current officer Lynette Benjamin, whom the state instructed the board to replace by November. The Michigan Public Health Administration informed the board that Benjamin, appointed in 2009, was not qualified for the position.
“The initial appointment, made in June 2009, stipulated the approval was provisional and conditional on Ms. Benjamin enrolling and finishing a Master of Public Health degree by June of 2012,” a letter from Jean Chabut, deputy director of the Public Health Administration, said. “No progress has been made to date on the degree requirement.”