Health Retirements

By Bob Balgemann


Boone County Health Department Administrator Cindy Frank and longtime environmental health director, Bill Hatfield, are planning to retire later this year.

Longstanding volunteer, Dr. Kent Hess, has stepped down after serving for more than four decades on the county board of health. According to county board member Sherry Branson, he chaired the board since 1976.

That board oversees operation of the health department and prepares its annual budget, which is approved by the county board.

Other than that, the health department is unusual in that while it is a county department, it operates independently of the county board.

Dr. Hess’ last board meeting was in June. His term expired this year.

This is actually his second retirement from involvement in health care. The first came May 30, 2015, when he stepped aside after 43 years as an internist. A reception attended by many patients, friends, and family members was held that day at the old St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Another longtime member of the board of health, Jim Cox, has taken over as chairman. His term of office is good for two more years.

During the July 20 county board meeting, Branson provided her colleagues with information about the recent and upcoming changes at the health department.

She said Frank was planning to retire this month, with Hatfield slated to leave in December. However, board Chairman Bob Walberg said Frank’s departure was in September.

“July is here,” he said.

Branson said she could have the dates wrong.

“The bottom line is both will be retiring this year,” she said. Health department officials “are looking at doing a little bit of restructuring in order to eliminate a position, and save some funds.”

Branson was appointed to be a voting member of the board of health. She reports on actions of that board, and when Frank can’t be present at a county board meeting, she will provide highlights of what the health department is doing.

She replaced former county board member Ron Wait, who lost his bid for re-election last year.

In a related action at the July 20 board meeting, Chairman Walberg recommended appointing Dr. Dennis Corcoran and Dr. Pacita Pumilia to a pair of three-year terms on the board of health.

Corcoran’s appointment was unanimously approved in a voice vote of the county board, with one abstention on the appointment of Pumilia.



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