The fiscal 2023 Health Department budget request may well include a $10,000 jolt in an effort to attract candidates for the vacant position of public health nurse.
Heidi Porter, Director of the Health and Human Services Department, told the Board of Health at a virtual meeting this week that she is starting to detect some interest in the job, which has been vacant for more than four months.
However, she added, she may ask the board to approve a $10,000 salary increase to $85,000 so the position can be more competitive. The amount is within the boundaries for the position under the terms of the town’s salary administration bylaw.
According to the job description, the public health nurse has a wide range of responsibilities: from communicable disease investigation; home visits to residents with health needs; and planning and implementation of public clinics, screenings, and health education workshops; to health policy development; vaccine ordering and inventory management; and coordination of medical volunteers.
The board approved the rest of the proposed budget of $389,541 for next year. All line items are level-funded except for salaries.
Porter said that the Finance Committee guideline of a 2.5 percent increase is difficult to apply to a budget that is almost entirely salaries. “We are always over the guideline,” she said.
Finance Committee member Karen Dunn told the meeting, “The guideline is a starting place, the start of a process. We absolutely want to know what your needs are.”
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763