Villages hire Health Department director
Berg will form strategic plan that could lead to merger
Jamie Berg, who is a sanitarian with a background in environmental health, is the new director of the Shorewood-Whitefish Bay Health Department.
Prior to her appointment, Berg was a sanitarian working for both the North Shore and Shorewood-Whitefish Bay department under a consortium agreement between the two.
Cindy Tomasello, the former director of the Shorewood-Whitefish Bay department, retired at the end of June. The village advertised for an interim director after the Board of Health for the combined department decided to do a study to determine what services the department should offer and how it should be structured.
The department has a history of cooperation and working with the North Shore Health Department, made up of the other five North Shore communities - Brown Deer, Bayside, Glendale, River Hills and Fox Point - and some thought consolidation with the NSHD a logical step.
However, the board decided the study would help guide a decision and moved ahead with a task force, which expected to take six months to do its work.
Shorewood Village Manager Chris Swartz said there were no applicants for the interim position. In the meantime, the state warned the village it was not meeting the requirements for a health department, putting grants and funding at risk.
Swartz turned to Berg, whose offices have been in the Shorewood Department for the last four years.
"Jamie worked well as the sanitarian and knows the system well," Swartz said. "We think she can do an excellent job and work with the North Shore Health Department."
Since Berg is not a nurse, the department must have a full-time nurse, per state requirements. Kathleen Demien, who was a half-time nurse with the department, now has a full-time position.
The Shorewood-Whitefish Bay Department has a larger staff with Demien full time. The staff also includes an administrative assistant.
"We will continue to do what the department has done and perhaps do a little more," Berg said.
The state has told Berg that she cannot be the lead sanitarian as health officer, so the village is talking with the NSHD about contracting sanitarian services. The NSHD has two nurses who are also certified sanitarians and might hire another sanitarian to replace the services it lost with Berg's departure, although that is not decided.
Berg said one of her primary jobs during the coming year will be to develop a strategic plan to consolidate with the NSHD.
"The North Shore (Health Department) has more nurses and more staff," Berg said. "The Shorewood-Whitefish Bay Department is more in need of consolidation than the North Shore."
The NSHD is staffed with three full-time nurses, two nurses who work 24 hours and two working 32 hours a week, plus a full-time secretary.
Berg, 30, earned a degree in nutritional science and diet at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Swartz said her salary for 2010 is $65,000; in 2011, it will be $70,000.
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