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Watertown nonprofit head named interim Lewis County health director

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LOWVILLE — Lewis County legislators selected the head of a Watertown nonprofit group as their interim public health director Tuesday.

Lawmakers voted 9-0 to appoint Penny A. Ingham, longtime executive director of the North Country Prenatal/Perinatal Council, to the part-time post for 90 days or until a full-time director at the Lewis County Public Health Agency is named, whichever comes first.

Mrs. Ingham will work a minimum of 10 hours per week at a rate of $35 per hour.

“She got permission from where she works,” said Board of Legislators Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan. “They allowed her to take time to spend over here. She didn’t want to commit more because of her responsibilities in Watertown.”

The pay rate would be equivalent to the posted annual salary range for the full-time position of $65,000 to $70,000, Mr. Tabolt said.

“Is she qualified?” asked Legislator Philip C. Hathway, R-Harrisville, noting he had heard good things about her.

“One hundred percent,” said Legislator Paul M. Stanford, D-Watson, chairman of the Mental Hygiene and Public Health Committee.

Outgoing County Manager David H. Pendergast noted she holds a master’s degree in public health from Yale University.

Most employees at Public Health know Mrs. Ingham, a Lowville resident whose husband, John, recently retired after many years at the county agency, Mr. Tabolt said.

She plans to work with agency employees “when her time would be of most benefit to them,” he said.

The chairman also reported Mrs. Ingham was one of the five applicants for the permanent director position, but Mr. Stanford’s committee will need to review those applications before deciding how to proceed with that appointment.

Former Director Carol A. Paluck worked her last day Friday; she plans to take a few weeks off before starting a job elsewhere.

Legislators also voted 9-0 to approve the Solid Waste Department’s purchase of a 2013 Ford one-ton pickup from Nortz & Virkler, Lowville, for $36,025 and the hiring of two part-time summer laborers to assist with all-terrain vehicle trail development for $11.58 per hour, not to exceed $16,000.

Mr. Tabolt, who is effectively serving as acting trail coordinator until a new one is hired, said he would like to have help available to handle projects related to the county ATV trail system, which is slated to open May 1.

Legislator Jack T. Bush, R-Brantingham, was absent.

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