12/18/14 9:30 p.m.
The merger of the Findlay and Hancock County Health Departments is closer to being a reality. At a committee of the whole meeting last night, city council members heard details of the process from city officials.
Findlay Service-Safety Director Paul Schmelzer said the city will contribute $360,000 and the county $247,500. After the census in 2021 those percentages and amounts will be re-evaluated.
Starting in January the two departments will be operating parallel to one another with the goal of merging at the start of 2016. Schmelzer said what’s important right now is to focus on the big picture.
According to Schmelzer, because both departments knew the merger was coming and they are operating at low staff levels. This meaning there should be no cuts when the departments combine. Schmelzer said because of the level of service there may need to be additional hirings.
All Findlay Health Department workers will become county workers as a result of the merger. Schmelzer told council those workers will either be able to take their sick and vacation time with them or have the city pay them out. If they choose to take it with them the city will pay the county for that time.
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The next steps are to finalize a contract and appoint a board and full-time health commissioner, which will happen in March. The rest of the pieces such as personel and facility will fall into place at the discretion of the new board and commissioner.