The Youngstown Board of Health is seeking resumes for the position of health department administrator to rectify a breach of ethics offense by the board when it hired Erin Bishop for the job Feb. 9, 2011.
Bishop said she was “surprised and disappointed” when told of the problem in February 2013 because she was under the impression everything was OK when she was hired.
The problem, said Youngstown Law Director Anthony Farris, is that, according to the Ohio Ethics Commission, for a health board member to be appointed health department administrator the person must have been off the board for at least a year — unless the appointee had stepped off the board before it began considering hiring an administrator. In that case, the one-year wait is waived, he said.
“When I took the job, I was told by former Mayor Jay Williams and former Law Director Iris Guglucello that everything was done correctly. I had a job with the Mahoning County Homeless Continuum of Care that I would not have left without that assurance,” Bishop said.
She is still health depart- ment administrator/ acting health commissioner, and said she plans to reapply for the position.
“I’m a Youngstown resident, and I have been very happy to work for the city. I think I’ve done a good job.”
Bishop was appointed to the health board July 1, 2008, filling an unexpired term. She resigned from the board on Feb. 7, 2011, to take the position of health administrator effective Feb. 9, 2011. She was subsequently named acting health commissioner.
The board action seeking resumes, recommended by the city law department, is not a reflection of any lack of confidence in Bishop, Farris said.
“But her appointment was not done properly, and we want a thorough and correct application process. The year wait for Bishop has long since passed, and it is not now a violation for her to hold the position,” he said.
The health board’s action reflects its desire to engage in an open and inclusive process of seeking the best candidate for all positions. Circumstances prevented such a thorough process when the position was last filled. The board believes it best to now provide one, Farris said.
In other action after an executive session Monday, the board authorized Farris to enter into a last chance agreement with a health district employee whom the law director said had “engaged in serious misconduct including the falsifying of inspection reports to create the impression that food inspections were performed which had not been.”
Under a last chance agreement, the employee accepts the discipline and agrees that any further violation could result in termination. After signing the agreement, the employee can only contest whether or not a violation occurred, Farris said.
Approval of the last chance agreement will close the city’s investigation into issues involving food inspections, Farris said.