Health director announces retirement after 36 years of service

Moore County Health Director Robert Wittmann announced his retirement at Monday night’s board of health meeting. He has served as the health director since 1985, marking 36 years of service to the citizens of Moore County. Wittmann is only the fifth health director for Moore County and certainly its longest-serving.

Wittmann read his resignation letter to the board stating he was eligible for retirement for the last 14 years but wanted to accomplish some goals before he retired. He also said that he is confident the board can manage the pandemic as it is waning. As he finished reading the letter, Wittmann said he would offer his services to the board to serve in an interim role, if needed, until the position could be filled.

According to the health department’s website, the health department and its board of health originated in 1928 with a staff of three, a nurse, a clerk, and a health director.

John M. Symington, M.D. was the first health director and held the position until 1941 when Benjamin M. Drake, M.D. became the health director. Drake grew the department and established satellite clinics in Cameron and Robbins but served for two years.

In 1943, Jessie Willcox, M.D. became health director and remained in that position until 1965. Dr. Alfred G. Siege took over as health director in 1966 and served until 1985, at which time Wittmann became the health director. Under Wittmann, the health department continues to grow and employs a staff of around 50.

Wittmann’s last day will be Dec. 31. His announcement came toward the end of the meeting, and the board of health, along with other officials, stood and applauded him for his years of service. The board chair, Leo Santowasso, did not mention the next steps in the process as they begin the search for a new health director.

File photo of Moore County Health Director Robert Wittmann by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer John Patota.

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