A requestor recently asked the Network for information about Ohio law and the nomination and appointment process of general health district boards of health. Boards of health are an important link between public health services and a healthy community, and laws governing board structure vary from state to state. Ohio law states that the general health district advisory council (DAC) and the district licensing council (DLC) appoint the board of health of a general health district: ORC §§ 3709.03 and 3709.41. The DAC appoints four of the five board members and the DLC appoints the remaining member. At least one member of the board of health must be a physician.
The law doesn’t state how nominations to the board of health are to be made. However, the DAC can adopt bylaws governing its meetings, business and voting procedures. The DAC is made up of the president of the board of county commissioners, the chief executive (usually mayor) of each municipal corporation (usually a town or city) that doesn’t have its own health district, and the president of the board of township trustees of each township. According to Ohio Attorney General’s Opinion No. 96-022 a DAC member cannot be appointed to the board of health since a person in both positions would be required to review his own reports and make recommendations to himself. This would pose a conflict of interest and not allow the person to be true to either position.
In addition to the above information, the Network provided the requestor with a flowchart showing the relationship between the DAC, DLC and board of health with regards to appointing board of health members.