April 16, 2014 — The Little Sandy Health District Board of Directors apparently is going to wait longer before filling the vacant director’s position.
The board originally voted to begin receiving applications for the position last September but that was before the details of the department’s strained finances were fully known.
Paula Thornberry has served as the interim director since last July when Lloyd Miller retired.
“We all want to get a new director in place. We need the leadership but we also need to weigh the pros and cons of hiring this person in light of the department’s finances,” said Board Chair Kari Shields.
She also lamented the prospect of beginning the hiring process for a director while simultaneously trying to formulate a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
“It’s an unfortunate time of year to have to decide this,” said Shields.
According to Thornberry, hiring a director would bring with it a minimum hit of $80,000 to an already strained budget.
That figure includes a minimum salary of $50,000 mandated by the state and an extra 55 percent for fringe benefits.
“We are allowed to have an interim director for up to two years. Why can’t we wait a little longer?” asked staff member Rita Sexton.
“If we try to hire someone right now, we’re going to lose even more staff, which we can’t afford because we are already running at the bare minimum,” she added.
Thornberry echoed the sentiment, informing the board that hiring a new director at this juncture would almost certainly result in more staff cutbacks.
Elliot County Judge-Executive Carl Fannin continued to press the issue, however, urging the hiring of a director as quickly as possible.
“I feel like I’ve been lied to. We said we were going to hire a director and we still don’t have one,” said Fannin