Greenfield Health Department fully staffed

  • With a director, inspector, receptionist and public health nurse, the Health Department is now fully staffed. Staff FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/16/2019 10:56:31 PM

GREENFIELD — With a director, inspector, clerk and public health nurse, the Health Department is now fully staffed.

While the Greenfield Health Department recently struggled with maintaining adequate staffing, through the efforts of the City Council, Mayor William Martin and the Board of Health, three new members have joined the Health Department in as many months, according to a Greenfield press release.

“We are glad to have the department at full staffing again,” Martin said. “We were lucky to recruit experienced individuals. This staffing level puts the city in a good position for providing critical services to the residents, restaurants and other businesses. In a short time, the department has become current on food inspections and is almost caught up on housing inspections.”

While the city was finding a more permanent solution, contractors filled in the gaps for the health director, according to the mayor’s office.

The health inspector and health clerk were part-time positions and are now full-time, according to Health Director Valerie Bird.

Bird joined as health director in May, coming from a health director position for the Foothills Health District. Bird, who has 25 years of experience in health department operations, is a working director and will act as an inspector.

Cheryl Volpe is serving as the part-time public health nurse for Greenfield as well as Montague.

Tim Newton joined the department as a health inspector in June, coming from the private sector with strong working knowledge of food code and Title 5 septic inspections. Newton also takes the lead with tobacco enforcement and education.

Most recently, Nicole Glabach joined the department as health clerk this month, bringing experience as a town clerk, including three years of municipal permitting and licensing experience and a lifetime of knowledge of the Pioneer Valley.

“Glabach has extensive experience in agriculture and farm operations as well,” Martin said.

The department has effectively started anew.

Greenfield’s health department went through brief stretches where it did not have an in-house inspector on staff. The city fired its previous health director, Alexeev Jones, in February 2018 when it learned he did not meet qualifications for the job and had lied on his application, following reporting by the Greenfield Recorder.

Then, the department ran into issues with funding. After a month without a single health inspector, City Council voted in December 2018 to fund the health and building inspections departments sufficiently to hire new inspectors.

Problems with maintaining staff continued when the city’s contracted health inspector, Jami Kolosewicz, resigned in May. She once was a full-time inspector with Greenfield, left to take a similar job in Orange, but had been brought back to assist one day a week.

Kolosewicz’s resignation followed the departure of the city’s full-time health inspector Ivan Kwagala, who left in early May after spending a couple of months on the job. The department’s administrative clerk, Jasmine Ward, also resigned.

Now, the department can provide Greenfield with a variety of services, like maintaining sanitary living conditions and protecting the environment from potential hazards.

“With staffing now at optimal levels, the department can engage in all portions of our duties to the city,” Bird said. “We are up-to-date on all regular food service inspections, and responding to citizen concerns regarding locations in a timely manner.”

Bird added that housing inspection requests from shared homes and tenants are progressing well, and that “nuisance complaints are received and resolved in a timely manner.”

Tobacco enforcement checks were conducted by the Pioneer Valley Tobacco Commission (PVTC) in June, and subsequent tobacco education training for owners and managers will be given jointly by PVTC and the Greenfield Health Department on Aug. 15.

With any Heath Department inquiries, contact the office at 413-772-1404.

Reach Melina Bourdeau at 413-772-0261, ext. 263 or mbourdeau@recorder.com.




Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

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