The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

County health director announces retirement

Recruiting to start soon


August 10, 2017

Wahkiakum County is in the market for a new director of the Health and Human Services Department.

Present Director Sue Cameron last week sent the board of county commissioners a letter announcing her intention to retire and leave the position effective October 6.

Cameron has been director for five years. She has worked in public health for 41 years, and she has also been a county commissioner in Tillamook County, Ore., and is currently a member of the Cathlamet Town Council.

Commissioners met Tuesday with Cameron and other department officials to discuss the process for finding her replacement.

"We are in a good position now to do this," Cameron said. "Most of our positions are filled, and other than the instability of the legislature and the national government, we're in a good position."

Commissioners handled a variety of other business on Tuesday. They commented on two applications for Puget Island marijuana producing firms to renew their permits with the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board, supporting one and objecting to the other, and they discussed risk management programs with a representative of the Washington Rural Counties Insurance Pool (WRCIP).

Commissioners voted 2-1 to oppose the renewal of one applicant, saying the location on the application seemed inaccurate and that the facility isn't kept neat.

Commissioners only make comments to the state liquor and cannabis board, which ultimately makes decisions. Commissioners said they would inform that board of their objections.

Commissioner Blair Brady wasn't too optimistic that the county's comments would carry much weight.

"The odds are that the liquor board won't pay attention to our objections because all they see are dollar signs coming in," he said.

Mark Sherwood, risk management director for the WRCIP, outlined programs the pools offer to help member counties keep their rates low.

These include driving skills for civilian and law enforcement employees, law enforcement response training, facilities inspection, and social media use.

Pool instructors will be in Cathlamet in September for a law enforcement response training.

Commissioners, Cameron and others discussed the steps to find her replacement.

Cameron said she would update the job description so that advertising for the position could start next week. That would allow the the board to hold interview in September and have someone on board in October.

Commissioner Mike Backman commented the new director should be comfortable with rural communities and committed to a long tenure in the spot, and all agreed with him.

Suzanne Holmes, who represents the county on the regional Great Rivers Behavioral Health Organization, commented that the position needs to be filled, for it is part of a three-part management team for the department's community health and mental health programs.

"The department needs three people," she said. "It can't survive with two."


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