Metro-East News

St. Clair County Board of Health prepares to replace departing director

With St. Clair County Health Department Executive Director Kevin Hutchison scheduled to leave the department on June 30, the board of health’s personnel committee plans to let to internal candidates apply for the job first.

The personnel and finance committee, which is acting as the search committee, decided Wednesday to follow its succession plan policy it had adopted in 2013. The plan includes posting the job opening, interviewing candidates, and recommending a person to fill the job to the full board of health.

Interested internal candidates will have the first opportunity to apply for the position.

“We’ll have to see if the people internally meet the qualifications, and what we’re looking for,” said Mary Stiehl, who leads the personnel and finance committee. If the personnel committees doesn’t find anybody, our recommendation to the board is we would open it up.”

Stiehl said it will be difficult to replace Hutchison.

“With the economic problems we’ve been running into with the state cuts, (we’ll want) somebody who will be able to utilize the money we do have to best capabilities for St. Clair County health issues,” Stiehl said.

Stiehl would not comment on specific employees who might throw their name into the hat.

“I think there are several people within the office who qualify and would probably apply,” Stiehl said.

Hutchison, who has been with the health department for 29 years, is leaving his $123,000-a-year job.

Stiehl said who ever is selected most likely would be paid less than Hutchison’s salary.

“Kevin has worked his way up to that after 29 years,” Stiehl said.

During Hutchison’s tenure with the department, the health department has grown from a small tuberculosis clinic to a state certified department, with a national accreditation.

“As the result of his effective leadership and management, our health department has been a driving force for improved health for our citizens and county,” said Board of Health President Tracey Biermann.

Health department national accreditation, an initiative supported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, includes meeting certain standards working towards continuous improvement of the quality of care and provided services.

Hutchison, who had stops Peoria and Greene County, said he is not sure what he’ll do after leaving the St. Clair County Health Department, but said he hopes to do work in the public health field.

The 60-year-old Hutchison has spent more than 39 years working in public health. He said he plans to file his retirement paperwork with the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

He said is proud of growing the health department that has formed partnership with other agencies, such as the East Side Health District to deliver quality service. He also credited the county board, health department staff and board of health.

“Together we have established a high performing local health department that provides quality services to the citizens of St. Clair County,” Hutchison said.

Contact reporter Joseph Bustos at jbustos@bnd.com or 618-239-2451. Follow him on Twitter: @JoeBReporter.

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