Phillip Melton named interim health director

Published 4:35 pm Monday, July 13, 2009

Phillip Melton has been named the Interim Health Director for the Rutherford-Polk-McDowell District Health Department.

Melton was appointed to the position at a district health board meeting in Spindale on July 7.

&dquo;Mr. Melton, a long-time employee of the district, ably served as interim health director in 2005 after the unexpected death of health director Joyce Sluder,&dquo; said board chairman Dr. Iain Fitch.

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Melton has been the district&squo;s finance officer for more than 10 years.

He will take over the duties of Buck Wilson, the current district health director, who will be leaving on July 17 to become the health director in Cumberland County, home to Fort Bragg and Fayetteville. Wilson announced his resignation on June 16.

To provide additional support to Melton and the department, the district health board appointed Norman Guthrie, a McDowell County Board of Health representative since 2003 and the board of health chairman from 2006 to 2008, as assistant to the interim health director.

&dquo;Mr. Guthrie has extensive management experience and knowledge of the health department from his service on the board,&dquo; said Dr. Fitch. &dquo;Mr. Guthrie will be assisting Mr. Melton to further represent the department in each of the three counties and to aid Mr. Melton in this very uncertain budgetary environment where state appropriations still have not been decided.&dquo;

The board also appointed Jennifer Jarrett, the current assistant finance officer, to serve as district interim finance officer during this transition. Jarrett also serve as interim finance officer in 2005.

&dquo;We are very fortunate to have dedicated, well trained staff who can step up during times of transition such as this,&dquo; said Dr. Fitch.

The District Board of Health and Home Health Advisory Committee also established a search committee, comprised of representatives from all three counties and chaired by retired Veteran&squo;s Hospital Surgical Administrative Officer Don Corry, to plan and lead the process for selecting a new district health director.

The search committee&squo;s Rutherford County representatives are: Don Corry, Community Clinic of Rutherford County Executive Director Sandra McGriff, and county commissioner Paul McIntosh. The committee&squo;s McDowell County representatives are county commissioner Barry McPeters and Norman Guthrie, a member of the prior search committee. Polk County representatives are retired public health dentist Mike Davidson and Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson.

The search committee will be working with the Office of the State Health Director to post the requirements for applicants for the Rutherford-Polk-McDowell District health director in the next few weeks.

For further information, contact Phillip Melton at 828-287-6054.