Retire and renew: Bassitt to end ACHD career, Torres contract renewed

A long-time employee of the Auglaize County Health Department announced her plans to retire, while the medical director saw his contract renewed for another year.

After 27 years, Janet Bassitt, who has served as health educator since she was hired in July 1985, announced her plans to retire as of July 1, during a monthly meeting of the Auglaize County Health Board.

“She will be missed,” Auglaize County Health Commissioner Charlotte Parsons said.

Health Board member Linda Kitzmiller said they accepted Bassitt’s retirement with gratitude for her years served, while Health Board President Dr. David Nielsen said their acceptance was also with sorrow.

“It’s bittersweet,” Bassitt said of her announcement.

She plans to travel more and to spend more time with her mother, who recently had a massive stroke.

“I want to be around more for my family,” Bassitt said.

Plans to fill Bassitt’s position are still under discussion, Parsons said after the meeting. Board member met in executive session briefly to discuss options for the full-time position which has largely been grant funded through the years.

“Now there is no grant funding to cover the position,” Parsons said.

She said another health educator position most likely would be part-time and would also cover public information officer duties but it would be a few months before any decisions are made.

During her time with the Auglaize County Health Department, Bassitt worked with a lot of different grant programs and served in the public information officer capacity, Parsons explained.

Until three years ago, the position had been fully funded through grants, but now is only partially paid for that way.

“We will miss her, and we wish her well on her retirement,” Parsons said. “She has been a real asset to the Health Department and has done a lot of collaborative work here, regionally and at the state level. She will be missed all around the place.”

In other business, Dr. Juan Torres had his contract extended another year as Auglaize County medical director.

Board members unanimously approved renewing the contract, something done annually.

Torres, who began serving as the county’s medical director in May 2008 has maintained the same amount of compensation — $660 per month — since he was initially hired.

“We’re very pleased he agreed to do it,” Parsons said. “He brings a lot to our board meetings.”

She said every month during his portion of the meeting, Torres talks about issues that they hadn’t thought about before, getting pertinent information out to the public and hitting on interesting subjects.

Board member Dorothy Silver described Torres as the best medical director they have had, while board member Dr. Dan Harpster said they are certainly glad Torres is here.

“Thank you for putting your trust in me and continuing to allow me to come here and talk to you,” Torres told the board upon his renewal.