John Ferlito Retiring as Kent Health Commissioner
Retirement announcement occurs as city debates combining health department with Ravenna, Portage County
Kent's longtime Health Commissioner John Ferlito is retiring effective June 1.
Ferlito, 60, joins several other prominent public leaders in Kent who are retiring this year.
In December, Theodore Roosevelt High School Principal Roger Sidoti announced his retirement around the same time as former Kent Police Chief James Peach announced his retirement. Last week, Kent Free Library Director Carmen Zampini announced she also would be retiring this spring. So far, Peach is the first to actually leave the job.
"It's a good time to retire," Ferlito said.
Ferlito spent the past 38 years working in Kent, and he's been the city's health commissioner since 1986.
His announcement comes as the city joins Ravenna and Portage County administrators in preliminary talks about combining all three entities' health departments into one agency. Ferlito said that discussion didn't play a role in his decision to retire.
"That came up after I made my decision,” he said.
Representatives from all three health agencies and Kent State University will meet in the Ravenna High School at 6 p.m. Tuesday to talk about the issue.
"This is just the beginning to sit down, talk and think about it," Ferlito said. "If it improves services, that’s one thing. If it doesn’t, then it will be another thing.”
Despite those discussions, Ferlito said the Kent Health Board will still hire a new health commissioner. The position has not yet been advertised.
In 24 years as commissioner, Ferlito has dealt with a lot of health concerns and projects, including helping with the recent transition to a citywide garbage collection system and the ongoing issue of regulating rooming and boarding houses.
"That's been tough," Ferlito said of the rooming house regulations. "We’re working on that still.”
A Kent resident, Ferlito said his wife — a teacher of 39 years — is weighing her own retirement from Theodore Roosevelt High School. In two weeks, he'll turn 61.
His tentative retirement date is June 1, but there are some issues Ferlito and the health board want to have wrapped up before he leaves.
“We're still looking at some things," Ferlito said. "Right now it looks like June 1 will be my retirement date."