Vermilion begins search for next health administrator

DANVILLE — A committee is beginning the search this week for a new public health administrator for the Vermilion County Health Department to replace the current administrator, who will be retiring next spring.

After more than 28 years at the health department, including the last three years as the public health administrator, Shirley Hicks has decided to retire in March.

The four-member search committee is made up of members of the board of health and meets for the first time today to discuss its search for Hicks' replacement. The committee meets at 6 p.m. Thursday at the health department, 200 S. College St., Danville. Bill Wright, who is also a county board member, is chairing the committee, which also includes Carla DeAngelis, Jane Cooney and Dr. Holly Maes.

Hicks said at this first meeting, the committee will discuss a plan for the search and may discuss in-house personnel who could fill the position. Currently, Hicks said, there is one member of the health department staff who meets all the qualifications for the position. She said mostly, the committee will talk about how to go about the search and whether to pursue in-house candidates simultaneously with an outside search.

Hicks replaced long-time public health Administrator Steve Laker, who retired in 2010. She said some may think she just got to the health department, but she has worked there for 28-1/2 years in five different positions, each one giving her progressively more responsibilities but mostly behind the scenes.

"I'm not a newbie," she said. "This has not been a quick turn-around for me."

Hicks said there are many requirements for public health administrator, including statutory qualifications. She said the sub-committee of the board of health will do the search, but the full board will actually appoint the next administrator.

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