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The contract for Douglas County’s new public health director, including an annual salary of about $205,000, was approved by the board of health Thursday.

Michael Hill, who will start in the position Feb. 28, was selected from a pool of 40 applicants, according to the county.

“I think the pandemic is done and we’re bringing somebody in now who can focus on public health issues that, because of the pandemic, may not have received the focus that they needed to receive,” board president Doug Benevento said in the meeting.

Hill will also receive a relocation bonus of $7,500, according to the approved contract.

The board of health announced Hill as the sole finalist Jan. 22 after conducting a nationwide search. Three other people were interviewed for the job, according to a news release from the county. 

Previously, Hill worked as the health agency director in San Luis Obispo, California beginning in 2018. He’s also worked in public health in Illinois, Texas and Florida during a career spanning nearly 30 years. 

Hill received a Masters of Public health in 2003 and a Masters Of Public Administration in 1997, according to his curriculum vitae. 

“This is exactly who we need in Douglas County to help us tailor-make our public health department to meet the needs of our really unique citizens here,” said Lora Thomas, a county commissioner and member of the board of health, during the meeting.

The board of health also discussed the hiring process of a medical officer. Under Colorado law, when a local public health agency hires someone other than a physician as its director, it’s required to choose at least one physician to be available at all times to advise the director on medical decisions.

Board members said they would like to wait until Hill begins as the public health director to hire this person but directed staff to prepare a briefing for him on the topic.

Douglas County voted to split away from Tri-County Health Department and form its own agency in September 2021, following months of disagreements with Tri-County over COVID-19 precautions.