Someone once said that those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it. How true this is.
In last Thursday's Tribune Chronicle, the editorial points out that we at the Trumbull County Health Department should seek to save money by taking advantage of services the county already provides. I agree wholeheartedly with his idea, and in fact implemented it 10 years ago.
Let's look more closely at the accountant issue. Ten years ago, I met with David Hines, who was then the county auditor. I hoped to see what services could be provided to the health department at little or no additional cost. After some introductory remarks, Hines referred me to one of his staff, Adrian Biviano. It was then that I first came to know Biviano.
The Trumbull County Board of Health wanted something a bit different than advice. The board asked for an entity that would provide independent accounting reports as assurance that they are discharging their fiscal responsibilities appropriately. For the past eight years, Rocky Riviella has fulfilled that need.
As far as human resources is concerned, we have worked closely with the county's human resource department on several major issues of mutual concern, e.g., health care insurance contracts, substance abuse policy and workers' compensation. The county commissioners are not obligated to supply us with this service, and we are grateful for the opportunity, especially as they are short staffed.
While we are on the subject, I also met with the prosecutor 10 years ago to inquire of the support available from his office. He was both gracious and helpful, but indicated that there would be times where legal services required by the Board of Health could not be provided by his office, e.g., instances where a conflict of interest exists. We have retained outside legal services in such situations.
Riviella came highly recommended from every source I checked. Having come from the private sector, I knew what was being paid for the services he had to offer, and he certainly was a good value. I also want to point out that when Riviella started, the health department had a deficit that was growing year by year. Our success in eliminating that deficit was due in large part to Riviella.
Since his relocation, Riviella has continued to provide the same financial statements to the board members and myself as he always has, but at a reduced rate because he can no longer be here in person to present them to the board. We have tried Skype on a couple of occasions during board meetings in an attempt to overcome the effect of distance. He did not charge us for any of that time.
In closing, may I say that with Riviella's help, the health department went from the brink of insolvency 10 years ago to our present level of financial stability. Of course, many other individuals have played a significant role in our success - first and foremost is the staff of our health department. In addition to our staff, I would also credit our board, our township officials, the district advisory council and our county elected officials who support public health in their daily work.
Enyeart is the Trumbull County Health Department commissioner.