The Youngstown City Health District, facing its busiest season with just two full-time environmental health sanitarians to inspect food-service operations, is scrambling for help.
In a March analysis of the health department’s personnel needs, the Ohio Department of Health said the Youngstown Health Department needs at least 4.192 full-time equivalent environmental sanitarians, said Acting Health Commissioner Erin Bishop at Monday’s health board meeting.
She said the process to hire two additional sanitarians through Youngstown Civil Service Commission testing has been initiated.
In the meantime, Bishop said she will try to stop-gap the shortage by offering the two existing sanitarians overtime and using sanitarians in the air-pollution division at night and on weekends. She said that because the air-pollution sanitarians are paid via grant money, they cannot be used during regular hours for work other than that of their own division.
Another option might be retired sanitarians who have kept their certification current.
One such person, Joseph P. Vizi, submitted a letter saying he would like to work parttime and also said that when he worked for the city health department, he was responsible for inspecting swimming pools and also could assist in that area.
A third sanitarian, Cicero Davis, who is director of environmental health for the department, is serving a 60-day suspension without pay as discipline for submitting false food-service inspection reports as part of a last-chance agreement with the city in lieu of losing his job.
In a related matter, Bishop said that in a letter, the Ohio State Board of Sanitarian Registration requested “all documents related to the suspension of Cicero Davis and the Last Chance Agreement.”
Bishop also reported to the board that its U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant of $53,125 for 2013 has been approved, enabling the health department to hire a part-time nurse to serve the homeless. The HUD grant will be supplemented by a required 20 percent match from the city totaling $13,000.
The primary function of the homeless-program nurse is to do health screening for the homeless and get them additional help if it is needed, said Bishop.
Also, Bishop said, the district’s 2013 state subsidy of $17,844 through the Ohio Department of Health has been approved. It’s an increase of $5,000 over fiscal 2012. The money can be used wherever it is needed, she said.