Talk of combining health agencies addressed

STEUBENVILLE – Health Commissioner Patty Reda told City Council members Friday the city board of health would like to be included in conversations regarding a possible consolidation with the Jefferson County General Health District.

Reda made her comments at the close of a two-hour council goal-setting session held Friday at the Historic Fort Steuben Visitors Center.

“My board has heard talk on the street about consolidating the two departments.You need to speak to the city board so they know what your thoughts are. The board wants to be cost effective but they don’t want to lose our resources. Both health departments do cover for each other. I would ask that whatever is on your mind please bring it to the city health board first,” Reda stated.

Friday was Reda’s last day as health commissioner. She retired after 19 years on the job.

According to Mayor Domenick Mucci, who also serves as health board president, the Ohio Department of Health is looking at changes for health districts across the state.

“The council has not had one meeting to discuss consolidation. I have said I favor a consolidation but if and when we discuss it, we will schedule a committee meeting and it will be an open meeting,” said 2nd Ward Councilman Mike Johnson.

“The strongest statement I have heard is this might be a good time to look at a possible consolidation because Patty is leaving,” noted Councilman at large Kenny Davis.

“It is a rumor and the rumor mill in this town runs faster than my truck,” added 6th Ward Councilman Bob Villamagna.

Mucci also said Friday he hopes to announce the next health commissioner early next week.

“We have had several discussions and in the very near future we will make an announcement on the new city health commissioner. We are going through a process at this point,” stated Mucci.