Monday, August 20, 2018

Schuyler and Yates Counties to Share Public Health Director, Expand Shared Services

In a move towards continued cost savings and increased efficiency, Schuyler and Yates counties have adopted resolutions authorizing the sharing of a Public Health Director between the two counties.

At their respective meetings on Monday, August 13, county legislators voted to authorize an Intermunicipal Agreement (IMA) permitting the consolidation of this position within the two counties.

The aim of the project is to work collaboratively while maintaining two distinctive health departments with shared leadership and integrated service delivery. Both departments will be governed by their respective legislatures and/or boards of health.

Yates Chairman Doug Paddock commented “As we continue to seek efficiencies for our residents and taxpayers, this most recent move exemplifies the commitment of both counties towards improving service delivery while lowering costs.”

Schuyler Chairman Dennis Fagan added, “While we continue to struggle with unfunded mandates and their associated escalating costs, it is great to be able to partner with our neighbors to the north, to achieve real savings for our residents.” 

Both Chairs expressed their appreciation to County Attorneys Steven Getman (Schuyler) and Scott Falvey (Yates) for their efforts in crafting an IMA that both Legislatures agreed upon.

The agreement, which now goes to the NYS Department of Health for approval, is in response to the announced retirement of Schuyler Public Health Director Marcia Kasprzyk, and the desire to further collaboration between each county. 

According to Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn while the combined savings approach $100,000 annually, the move will actually provide increased levels of service as each county shares departmental resources. 

By combining some resources, functions, and staff in their health departments, the two counties provide services that enhance their role as public health facilitators and educators in their respective communities, including:
  • ·        Public health education
  • ·        Emergency preparedness
  • ·        Childhood Early Intervention Programs
  • ·        Residential sanitary inspections
  • ·        Flu clinics
  • ·        Rabies clinics

O’Hearn stated “I commend both Marcia and Deb for their initiative in bringing this recommendation to their respective Legislatures. It is not often in government that such a collaborative and non-parochial approach to administration is achieved and this is a testament to their professionalism and dedication to public health!”

This is the latest shared service initiative between Yates and Schuyler, who currently share a Director of Weights and Measures and Code Enforcement responsibilities.

Both Counties have long recognized that inter-municipal cooperation can help local governments increase effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of services and is encouraged by the New York State legislature via broad statutory authority.  Here, the counties are taking advantage of legislation passed in 2011 that allows up to three county public health offices in counties with a combined population of less than 150,000 to share staff and services under the management of one public health director.

A County Health Department's mission is to protect and promote the health of its residents through prevention, science and the assurance of quality health care delivery.