A local public health official and a member of a local board of health from Wisconsin contacted the Network for Public Health Law about a potential merger of public health services. Under consideration was a proposal to merge two local health departments with an existing merged department involving five communities. While the requestors generally supported the merger, they were concerned that the proposal should include a meaningful advisory role for the board of health with respect to the newly configured health department.
The Network responded quickly. The Northern Region reached out to the Network’s expert on consolidation and shared services in the Southeastern Region. They also looped in a consultant who was able to provide historical perspective on the existing merged department based on her relevant expertise and extensive experience involving state and local health departments in Wisconsin. The Network attorneys consulted with the state Division of Public Health; reviewed state statutes, village ordinances and the Health Department’s intergovernmental cooperation agreement; and held a conference call with the requestors. The Network suggested the village resolutions and the agreement incorporate language clarifying that appointees to the Board of Health are required to have background and experience in public health. The requestors were pleased with this assistance and planned to present it at an upcoming village board meeting.
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