Agency paying firm $5,000 a week for interim exec

Agency paying firm $5,000 a week for interim exec

WATSEKA — The Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department is paying a weekly fee of $5,200 to health care executive placement firm B.E. Smith Inc. for services provided by interim Administrator Steven Williams, the Paxton Record has learned.

The newspaper obtained the agreement between the health department and the firm based in Lenexa, Kan., on Thursday through a Freedom of Information Act request.

In addition to the weekly fee, the agency agreed to pay a $5,000 downpayment. The health department also agreed to reimburse B.E. Smith for Williams' airfare and travel expenses to and from his home in Tennessee every two weeks; provide a rental car; and provide short-term and long-term housing.

The agreement was signed on Oct. 10 by the board of health's president, Dr. Kevin Brucker, and on Oct. 18 by B.E. Smith Vice President Jamie Oakes.

Board of health member Rod Copas said Williams, who began working for the health department on Nov. 15, is expected to serve as interim administrator through next June, when the dissolution of the bi-county health department goes into effect, and perhaps a bit longer if necessary "to close stuff out."

If Williams stays for the anticipated seven months, it would cost the agency some $145,000 in weekly fees to B.E. Smith, plus the other costs.

The board of health has budgeted $95,000 for an administrator's salary for the 2014 fiscal year, Copas said. Copas said the board will likely transfer money from other line items in the budget to fill the gap.

Copas said the money is well worth it.

"In my estimation, what we're getting for the money is not just an interim administrator; we're getting someone who will also help both counties in working with both counties to establish their own health departments. ... He's assisting both counties, which is invaluable at this point."

Williams was chosen as a replacement for Doug Corbett, whose contract as administrator was bought out this fall after a multitude of alleged unprofessional and unlawful behavior by Corbett had surfaced publicly in the past several months.

Corbett's annual salary was $89,116, according to his contract.

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