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Politics

Mecklenburg County To Explore Possibility of Public Health Board

Jim Puckett sits on the Huntersville Educational Options Study Commission
Mecklenburg County
Jim Puckett, the vice chairman for the Mecklenburg County Commisssion, speaking at Tuesday's meeting.

Mecklenburg County leaders are taking the first steps to determine whether the public health department should have different oversight. Commissioners voted 6-2 Tuesday night to form a committee to explore options that include creating a medical board to oversee the health department and forming an advisory board.

Commissioner Jim Puckett said recent problems in the health department prompted him to make the proposal. 

“I find it ironic that the one biggest, most impactful thing we do … the county health department is ultimately managed by nine people," Puckett said. "Not a one of us has a medical background, and a lady who is brilliant at finance.” 

In February of last year, commissioners acknowledged that 185 women weren’t told about their abnormal pap smears for several months.

Commissioners Ella Scarborough and Dumont Clarke voted against forming the exploratory committee. Clarke said many of the problems regarding the health department have not concerned medical service. 

“When you have failure, and you have things that go wrong, the most important thing to do is get in there and fix them," Clarke said. "And I think that’s exactly what is going on.”