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Local Department of Health cuts full-time position, freezes hiring in 2013

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 8:21 am

The Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health will be laying off at least one full-time employee and eliminating several part-time positions to align its costs with the 2013 budget.

At Monday night's board meeting Mindy Waldron, administrator for the department, said they have cut the budget to the bone and realized the only way they could get close to their 2013 goal was to eliminate the Emergency Preparedness Director's position.

Waldron said that just because the position is eliminated doesn't mean the work will disappear; it will be spread among several employees.

All hiring will be frozen next year; no new vehicles or IT items will be purchased. Waldron said they will have to hope what they have lasts until the next budget period.

Also affected: the STD/HIV Clinic, which receives its funding through three grants. The first grant, which had covered the costs for full-time and part-time staffing, now has the stipulation that it will not fund part-time employees. Therefore, at least one part-time position is being eliminated, with another under review. Another of the three grants is a competitive one and the Department of Health had been informed another organization in the area is applying for the grant.

Members of the board, department director Dr. Deborah McMahan and Waldron discussed the possibility of finding grant resources in other places, including starting a nonprofit branch of the Health Department so it could qualify for money from a boarder segment of grants, including area foundations.

The infectious disease report showed a large increase this year in cases of Invasive Strept Pneumo, with 21 cases this year compared with none for last year. Tuberculosis is also up this year with 12 new cases. There were four in 2011.

Allen County has had nine cases of Neuroinvasive West Nile Virus this year, with two deaths. There were 13 cases throughout Indiana this year, with six deaths.

The board's next session is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 28, 2013.