Top 10 Stories of 2012: No. 9: Health dept. reverses deficit; names director

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By The Staff

After beginning 2012 with nearly $200,000 in operating deficits and a strained relationship with the Anderson County community over spending habits, the Anderson County Board of Health ended the year with a profitable health department and a new health director.
After the health board had spent nearly all of its cash reserve funds to prevent massive layoffs or a tax hike, former health director Hurley was placed on probation and had his position reduced to part-time status in 2011.
The new year presented changes in leadership when Hurley resigned as Anderson County health director in February and Harold Todd replaced Andrew Bustin as health board chairman.
In March of 2012 the health board approved nearly $155,000 in payroll cuts, including $35,000 in program, utility and other savings, to go in effect in July in order to balance the department’s hemorrhaging budget.  
At the end of 2012, the health department’s budget was back in the black, with department programs such as HANDS and WIC reporting tremendous positive earnings.
According to public records obtained by The Anderson News, the Anderson County Health Department reported a revenue of $46,500 to end the fiscal year.
Former Environmental Director Tim Wright, who served as an interim health director for 10 months after Hurley resigned in February, was recently named to the position of health director by the health board on Dec. 20.  
Wright thanked the health board and community members for their support, but said his goals for the health department haven’t changed now that his title has.
“My first goal, as always, is to take care of the 21,000 citizens of Anderson County,” Wright said during the Dec. 20 meeting. “Second is to take care of the 17 employees of the health department and, third, to make sure we end up in the black every year.”