After Two Years In Acting Capacity, Linda Ward Elevated To Public Health Lab Head

San Bernardino County this week at the recommendation of its public health director, Trudy Raymundo, and by a vote of the board of supervisors hired Linda Ward to serve as the director of the county’s public health laboratory.
The contract approved confers upon Ward a total annual compensation package of $201,147, consisting of a $134,098 salary, with benefits valued at $67,049 for the period of January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
According to a report to the board of supervisors from Raymundo, the county department of public health is required by §64817 of the California Code of Regulations “to designate a laboratory director for each laboratory facility. By federal law, all hospital and public health laboratories have the same requirements for lab directors: a doctoral level degree, laboratory work experience, and board certification. Additionally, California is the only state that also requires laboratory directors to also be certified public health microbiologists. This limits the number of otherwise qualified applicants that may apply from out of state. Though the department has conducted continuous recruitments since February 2018, there have been no qualified applicants. Due to the critical nature of this position and the requirement for a designated laboratory director, the department of public health is recommending an employment contract with Linda Ward with a salary of $64.59 per hour. Ms. Ward is currently filling this position on a part-time basis as a returning retiree. She has agreed to suspend her retirement and return to this position on a full-time contract basis. Ms. Ward previously served as the program manager of the public health laboratory for 17 years. Her knowledge, expertise, and experience is critical in managing the public health laboratory. The recommended employment contract will be effective January 1, 2020 and remain in effect until December 31, 2020, but may be terminated earlier pending successful recruitment and transition to a new public health laboratory director.”
On January 20, 2018, the public health program manager laboratory position became vacant. The county’s department of human resources opened a recruitment for the public health program manager laboratory position on February 3, 2018, and has continued recruitment efforts, with no success. On June 26, 2019, the recruitment was revised to include the new classification of public health laboratory director with an increase in salary. Despite this, the recruitment failed to return any qualified applicants and on September 12, 2019, the recruitment was again revised and re-opened as a contract position with a higher salary, an increase in the medical premium subsidy and schedule flexibility.
According to Raymundo, “Recruitment will remain open continuously until a qualified candidate is hired.”
Ward was previously serving in the position at a remuneration well below what she is to receive in 2020. On January 23, 2018, the board of supervisors approved a contract with Ward to serve as program manager of the laboratory for a total annual cost of $60,257, for the contract period January 23, 2018 through January 5, 2019. On December 18, 2018, the board approved an amendment to the contract with Ward, for extension through December 31, 2019, with no change to the total annual cost of $60, 257.

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