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County moves to appoint public health director, shared with Orleans County

Paul Petit will soon officially be in charge of two county health departments -- Genesee and Orleans.

Over the past couple of weeks the two counties have hammered out an agreement to share health department services.

Petit, out of Orleans, will become Genesee County's public health director while retaining that position in Orleans County.

Genesee County's interim director, David Whitcroft, will become the environmental health director for both counties.

The official appointment of Petit was approved Wednesday by the Ways and Means Committee and will next be voted on by the full legislature next week.

Petit will be paid by Orleans County and get reimbursed for a portion of his salary by Genesee County, and Whitcroft's $65,000 salary will remain on Genesee County's payroll, but Orleans will share in the expense.

Over time, County Manager Jay Gsell, the arrangement may lead to more shared services between the two health departments, meaning potential cost savings.

For now, the real cost savings comes from the fact the county won't need to hire its own public health director.

For several years, Genesee County has relied on interim health directors, but the state is putting a stop to such an arrangement.

The county must have an actual public health director, but the qualifications for such a position put the annual salary in the $80,000 to $100,000 range. The shared services arrangement will help the county avoid that expense.

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