OSWEGO – Oswego County will have an acting health director starting June 14, the announcement of the retirement of current Oswego County Health Director Jiancheng Huang at the meeting of the County Legislature last night, Thursday, June 9th.
Health and Human Services Legislator Chairman James Karasek announced that Huang had accepted a position in another state, with his retirement from the county beginning at the end of June 14.
Filling Huang’s position until a new health director is appointed will be Oswego County Health Director of Patient Services, Vera Dunsmoor. Dunsmoor will be appointed acting deputy director of health for the period June 14 to July 23 this year.
Chairman James Weatherup spoke about the director’s time in the health department, highlighting his work over the past decade, including his development of community partnerships and public health programs that have helped raise the health rating from the state of the county; also praising Huang’s dedication and resilience to the Ministry of Health throughout the pandemic.
“Now, of course, I would like to highlight the team at the Department of Health and Community Cooperation who have come together to help create new solutions to some of the most pressing health issues. And while all of that is true, we all know his passion and drive to help people is a big part of that story,” Weatherup said.
“More recently, his guidance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has proven invaluable. He has remained a steadfast champion of public health over the past two tumultuous years. He reassured residents at each clinic, helped with the distribution of personal protective equipment and COVID-19 tests, and he was there with the development of the award-winning COVID-19 hotline – the online dashboard to track the daily and weekly reports and the online portal for reporting test results and requesting documents. Through it all, he remained committed to protecting the health and well-being of all of us. The residents of Oswego County have benefited greatly from his outstanding leadership, tireless advocacy and active community involvement. Thank you for your hard work and dedication. Jiangcheng, best wishes for your next adventure.
Huang thanked the crowd after receiving a standing ovation from the legislature and the crowd at last night’s meeting; paying particular attention to colleagues and others who have helped move the Department forward in a positive direction.
“Thank you very much. We have a great team. I also want to highlight [that] health is not just healthy. County Health [has] improved, yes,” Huang said. We have launched new programs in the Ministry of Health, but fundamentally health is determined by social factors – education, employment, transport and housing – and like the program of lawmaker Roy Reehil – and to significantly reduce child poverty ” , Huang said. “Over the last four or five years, it has been reduced from 29 [percent] at 19 [percent]. So it’s a real collaborative effort, and I’ve fortunately [got to] to be part of it – I am grateful.
Also at last night’s meeting, several county residents addressed the open session of the meeting regarding the following items: the allocation of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, the establishment of non-consensual towing and storage for towing services spread across the county, the Jordan Brooks case, and weaknesses within the Department of Human Services as a whole.
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is a distribution of pandemic relief funds to states, counties, and cities across the United States, helping negatively impacted communities across America. Weatherup read aloud a statement addressing the development, direction and distribution of funds to inform the public how the funds are respectively allocated.
Lawmakers Marie Schadt and Frank Castiglia challenged the proposal, pointing to differences in the task force and the committees assigned to the approval process.
“How were previously approved funding projects notified and/or invited to apply, and why were they not known to the public, and that funding was available prior to the approval of the first round of projects? Transparency is key in how these federally funded dollars are spent, and it appears the process has been anything but transparent thus far,” Schadt said. “I just think it’s hasty – I think putting them together is hasty and I don’t want anything but success.”
Schadt went on to say that she approved of some of the drafts and not others, also saying that she would like the Legislative Assembly to vote on each individual item instead. The resolution passed and passed by a measure of 17 votes in favor, with three votes against, three apologies and two abstentions.
Other proclamations and acknowledgments that took place at last night’s meeting included the following:
- Retirement: Kelly Darling – 30 years with Oswego County
- Retirement: Marlea Munger – 32 years with Oswego County
- Proclamation: Oswego County Envirothon 1st Place the team
- Proclamation: Dairy Month
All meetings of the Legislative Assembly are held on the second Thursday of each month, with the next meeting scheduled for July 14 at 2 p.m. To view the full agenda, please click here.