The Moore County Board of Health will have a new chairman, three new board members and will meet monthly for the rest of the year. Those changes were announced at a special called meeting of the Board of Heath Monday evening.
Since the COVID‑19 pandemic began in March, the Board of Health has been criticized for its hands-off approach to the day-to-day administration of the Health Department, and their failure to keep citizens informed.
Chairman William Mang stepped down without comment at the conclusion of the meeting, as was expected. Vice Chairman Leo Santowasso was named as the new chairman. The vacant role of Vice Chairman will be discussed at the next meeting. Health Director Robert Wittmann said Mang’s departure was due to personal reasons.
Three new board members were sworn in to fill vacant positions. Anthony Price, CEO of Moore Free & Charitable Care Clinic, Dr. Benjamin Wacker, and Dr. Paul Kuzma will be filling 2-year terms. It is expected that another board position will be filled at the next meeting.
If so, it will mean that the Board of Health will be made up of the required 11 members, each with certain qualifications. Each member of the Board of Health is appointed by the Board of County Commissioners.
Two of the three vacancies on the Board of Health were created because of term limits. The other was because a member moved out of the county.
Monthly, in-person meetings have been scheduled for the first Monday of each month until the end of the year, at the recommendation of the Moore County Commissioners.
Moore County Commissioner Louis Gregory, who also serves on the Board of Health, welcomed the three new board members and thanked the professional staff for their efforts. “Since this epidemic began, we have all been working in an effort to be able to bring this to a satisfactory conclusion,” Gregory said. “I find that public awareness and communication of what we are doing is critical.”
During the public comment period, Keith Clark of Aberdeen, called for the removal of Robert Wittmann. “Because Bob Wittmann’s pitiful performance has harmed the public, personnel policy allows you to fire him immediately.”
Clark went on to say, “The Health Director has grossly inefficient job performance by mismanagement that leads to death or serious bodily harm to members of the public.”
The Board of Health did not make any comment on the matter.
Wittmann together with Matt Garner, Public Information Officer, are scheduled to give an update on their department’s efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus, public outreach initiative and testing programs at a meeting of the Moore County Board of Commissioners Tuesday afternoon.
Feature photo: Dr. Paul Kuzma is sworn in by Notary Public Jeanie Garcia during a meeting of the Moore County Board of Health on Monday. Dr. Kuzma, an anesthesiologist with FirstHealth of the Carolinas, will join Anthony Price and Benjamin Wacker in filling three vacant positions on the board.
~Article and photo by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter John Patota.