Kent Hires New Health Commissioner
Jeffrey Niestadt replaces John Ferlito, who retired at the end of last week
The city of Kent officially hired its new health commissioner today after extending an offer and starting negotiations almost two weeks ago.
Jeffrey Niestadt, director of education and training for the National Association of Local Boards of Health, accepted the city's offer and takes over as health commissioner Sept. 12.
Niestadt takes the helm from retiring health commissioner John Ferlito, who spent 38 years managing health-related issues for Kent.
Chris Woolverton, president of the Kent Health Board, said Niestadt has strong credentials and an impressive record of publications and presentations.
"The (health) board is excited to have Jeff join the Kent city health department," Woolverton said in an email.
Liz Zorc, Kent's human resources director, said they had to work out a start date with Niestadt because he is managing several projects for the Bowling Green, OH-based NALBOH that he wanted to wrap up before leaving.
"We actually made him the offer about two weeks ago," Zorc said. "For us, one of the hang-ups was when he would start, because John Ferlito retired at the end of July. Today we had everything finalized to where we wanted it to be. Now it’s official."
As health commissioner, Niestadt will oversee the operations of the city's health department, which include a broad range of responsibilities from mosquito population control to multi-family rental unit inspection.
Niestadt will be paid a salary of $85,900. Ferlito retired at a salary of $87,942.
The Ohio University graduate received a bachelor's degree in environmental health science there and graduated with a master's degree in environmental management from the University of Findlay.
He has also worked as an epidemiologist and registered sanitarian within local health districts, Woolverton said. He has worked on a number of public health issues including lead poisoning prevention, private sewage and water management, food safety, management of recreational waters, vector control and management of infectious waste.
At NALBOH, Niestadt was responsible for managing all environmental health and public health preparedness training and education programs, according to his online biography.