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Wage raises coming for Salem Health Dept. registrars

SALEM — The Salem Health Board wants to increase the wages for the registrar and deputy registrar responsible for handling vital statistics and secretarial duties for the department.

“We’re just trying to be more competitive in the market,” Mayor John Berlin said.

Berlin serves as chairman of the health board by virtue of his position as mayor. He said Salem City Health Commissioner Alanna Stainbrook checked with other area departments to see what they pay for their registrar and deputy registrar. Salem can’t compete with the bigger departments, but the board wanted to do some type of increase.

On Wednesday, the board voted to recommend increasing the max rate for the deputy registrar position from $13.65 per hour to $15 per hour. For the registrar position, whose duties are fulfilled by the deputy registrar when the registrar isn’t there, the board voted to recommend increasing the max rate from $14.32 per hour to $16.50 per hour.

Changes to the rates will have to be approved by Salem City Council in the wage ordinance.

The board also agreed to pay the current registrar the current max rate of $14.32 per hour retroactive to July 1 this year. The registrar was being paid $13.91 per hour. Having a max rate gives the board some room for an employee’s pay to grow based on experience and performance.

Vital statistics personnel deal with birth and death certificates. During the meeting, both Stainbrook and Berlin made comments about the numbers for last month. Stainbrook said 150 birth certificates were issued and 137 death certificates were issued, even though there were only 26 deaths.

“We’re actually way up in both categories,” Berlin said.

In previous meetings, Stainbrook attributed part of the increase in birth certificate requests to new requirements by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles for driver’s licenses and IDs.

In the area of Covid-19, she stressed that the department still has the Moderna vaccine, which requires two doses a month apart, and the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine, available for anyone who wants a shot, all at no cost. Call the department at 330-332-1618 to schedule an appointment.

In June, only 10 first doses of Moderna were administered by the city health department, 45 second doses of Moderna and 11 doses of Johnson & Johnson. As for the number of positive Covid-19 cases, the department had 10 in June, which was a decrease from 33 positive cases in May.

While the numbers are going down, she said she’s “still a little nervous about all of it.”

Columbiana County’s vaccination rate is 35 percent fully vaccinated, which she said is lower than the counties to the north and higher than some of the counties to the south. When looking at current hot spots, she said Columbiana County is very comparable to those locations regarding the numbers of people vaccinated and not vaccinated. She’s feeling like it’s just a matter of time before numbers start going back up.

In other business, board member Judy Sicilia asked if residents should call the health department when they find a dead animal in their yard and Stainbrook said they should. Sicilia said residents shouldn’t go near a sick animal and to take proper precautions. If it’s after hours, call the police department, which can reach the environmental director or direct a resident to proper help. Sicilia was asking after a neighbor found a raccoon and a skunk, both dead.

Accreditation coordinator Lynle Hayes updated board members on the cost methodology she’s been compiling for new food license fees. The first reading on the new fees will be in September.

The board approved legislation to adopt the same public records request policy as the city and also agreed to appropriate $1,500 into equipment and supplies for the environmental health division. Stainbrook suggested buying a new laptop for the environmental health director.

The next meeting will be 2 p.m. Aug. 25 at the KSU City Center.

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