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Jefferson County Public Health Service director post has begun

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Jefferson County Administrator Robert F. Hagemann III said he hopes Jefferson County doesn’t have as much trouble as other counties in the state are having in filling public health director posts.

Since the fall, he said, some counties throughout the state began preparing for filling such roles, but their human resources representatives indicated the process has been a struggle.

“We thought to do an outreach internally,” Mr. Hagemann said. “We have several candidates interested. If one comes to surface, we’ll likely appoint that individual.”

That person will replace outgoing Jefferson County Public Health Service Director Jean A. Bilow, who will retire effective Feb. 28.

Mr. Hagemann said the county is about to have some conversations with select qualified in-house candidates. Depending on how those conversations go, he said, the search may be extended externally. Once finalists are selected, small groups of legislators will conduct interviews, Mr. Hagemann said.

He said he’ll look for people who have a great deal of experience in both health care and management. State-level networking would be a plus, he said.

Regardless of who is chosen, he said, the state Department of Health will require its stamp of approval.

The intent, he said, is for someone to fill the public health director role by the time Ms. Bilow retires.

“She’s going to be sorely missed when there’s a good deal of talent that walks out the door,” Mr. Hagemann said. “I think her legacy will continue for a long time to come because she’s been successful on the mentoring side.”

Ms. Bilow has dedicated 38 years of public health service to the agency.

Even though she will be leaving in about a month, Mr. Hagemann said, Ms. Bilow developed a list of items for her to accomplish in that short amount of time.

After she retires, Mr. Hagemann said, he’s happy she’s staying local so she’s only a phone call away if her expertise is needed.

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