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Board of Health moves forward in search of public health director

Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier - 11/4/2022

Nov. 4—WATERLOO — The search for a new public health director is underway in Black Hawk County.

The Black Hawk CountyBoard of Health decided on a consultant to help find the person for the position at a special meeting on Thursday. Former director Nafissa Cisse Egbuonye stepped down Oct. 21 to take a job with Molina Healthcare of Iowa as the associate vice president of community engagement. She led the health department for six years.

The board received proposals from three groups: Buffkin/Baker, of Brentwood, Tenn.; Baker Tilly, of Chicago, Ill.; and Mercer Group Associates, of Athens, Ga.

The board and Black Hawk County Human Resources Director Amanda Fesenmeyer were ultimately drawn to Baker Tilly due to the firm's work in the public health sector. The board will pay $26,950 for the services, which is an all-inclusive fee.

Fesenmeyer stated the cost of the search would be covered by salary savings from vacancies in the department.

Buffkin/Baker estimated its fee at $45,000 and Mercer's base fee was in a range of $18,000 to $24,000.

Baker Tilly is estimating its work will take about three to four months to complete.

The scope of work includes developing a recruitment brochure and advertising, identifying candidates, application screening, background checks, and final on-site interviews.

The firm stated it has placed nine executive-level public health positions since 2017.

In addition, the company says it has a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, with networks made up of minority and female leaders nationwide. The board made clear this was of importance.

"I was impressed with Baker Tilly because you can't do what you don't model, in my opinion, and I saw that at least in the area of diversity that they had an executive that would be involved in the process," Mary Robinson, chair of the board, said. "We've come too far in this county to try and replace that negative report of 24/7 (Wall Street) and I felt that Baker Tilly's proposal was very comprehensive."

In 2018, the Cedar Valley was deemed the "worst place to live for Black Americans" by 24/7 Wall Street, a financial commentary site. This year, the metro area is the sixth worst.

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