Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
With Washington County Public Health Director Danielle Pettit-Majewski’s impending departure to Johnson County, the Board of Health is beginning the work to fill the vacancy.
During a special meeting Tuesday morning, board members discussed how to navigate the path forward.
Part of that discussion included potentially appointing an interim director to lead the department during the search process for a permanent director.
Board Chair Cathy Buffington said that she has multiple conversations with Burdette Ogden, regional community health consultant with the Iowa Department of Health.
“Because Washington County is large, she thought an interim director would be a good idea,” Buffington said. “She suggested Christ Estle (Jefferson County public health director).”
Buffington said that she has spoken to Estle, and Estle is open to the idea.
“She talked to her board, and they were fine with it,” Buffington said.
Pettit-Majewski, whose last day is Aug. 4, endorsed Estle as a potential interim director.
“Chris Estle has been the director in Jefferson County for 14 years,” Pettit-Majewski said. “She’s a very strong personality, very confident and very good at what she does.
“I can’t say enough good things about her.”
Board member Jack Seward Jr. said that it could take some time for Washington and Jefferson counties to work out an agreement to temporarily share Estle’s services.
“There would have to be a discussion between the two boards,” Seward said. “Someone would then have to come up with an agreement.”
He said that in the meantime, Financial Administrator Peggy Wood and Nurse Manager Karri Fisher would be capable of leading the department’s day-to-day operations.
While the board tabled any action on an interim director, they agreed to move forward with posting the permanent job on free job sites.
Board member Dr. Chris Grier said that the board should take its time before deciding how to best move forward.
“I think we need to gather more information,” Grier said.
He said he would like to hear input from employees and other stakeholders to get a better idea of the best direction to go and what they will seek in a new director.
The board agreed to meet again at 7 a.m., Friday for a work session to begin receiving that input.