ELYRIA — The Lorain County Board of Health didn’t take any action on a plan to rehire recently retired county Health Commissioner Ken Pearce.
The board met in executive session for 1½ hours before coming out and skipping the agenda item relating to Pearce without comment.
Board President Edward von Hofen said after the meeting that the board would delay a decision on whether to bring back Pearce, who retired Aug. 31, until next month’s meeting.
“We’re going to regroup on that,” he said.
Von Hofen said there’s no hurry to rehire Peace, who under state retirement rules couldn’t even return to his former job until at least 60 days have passed. In the meantime, health board member Patricia Schrull is serving as interim commissioner for the Lorain County General Health District.
Pearce spent 37 years at the health district, about 30 of them as commissioner, before deciding to retire last month because of changes to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. Last year, he was the county’s highest-paid employee, earning $139,681, according to county Auditor Mark Stewart’s office.
He had signed a new five-year contract that ran from January of this year through December 2016.
Pearce, who wasn’t at Wednesday’s meeting, said earlier this week that he was concerned about how it would look for him to collect both his retirement and a salary if he were to return. But he also said he wouldn’t mind serving as acting commissioner while the board seeks a permanent replacement.
Board member Eric van Houten said during the meeting that roughly 21 people have applied for the job so far.
In other business, the board voted to bring in an outside legal firm to examine and rewrite its personnel policies and procedures.
Von Hofen said such reviews are routinely done by outside law firms for other county departments, but the health district hasn’t had one in some time.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.