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Cincinnati Health Department Hires New Leader

Melba Moore

After two years, Cincinnati is finally set to have a new health commissioner. The Health Department Board votes Tuesday to hire Melba Moore from the St. Louis Health Department.

Cincinnati Health Department Board Chair Dr. Phil Lichtenstein calls Moore energetic and charismatic. "(She's) someone we think is going to be a very effective advocate for not only the programs that the health department is responsible for, but a very effective advocate for the citizens," he says. "We think that she's going to be a very effective advocate in presenting the health department's agenda with City Council and city administration, as well."

Reports in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch cite letters from current and former employees calling Moore's leadership style "demeaning, abrasive and intimidating." Lichtenstein says the city's recruiting firm's assessment is that those allegations are unfounded.

"She inherited a department, which by the HR director's admission and the mayor's, was populated with a number of relatively inefficient, unproductive upper management people who weren't doing their jobs," Lichtenstein tells WVXU.

Lichtenstein expects Moore will spend her first three months settling in and learning how things work. "She's very interested with going out to the health centers. She's very interested in meeting citizens in neighborhood council meetings, and of course very interested in meeting with city council members and city administration."

The other finalist for the position, Dr. William Pilkington from North Carolina, withdrew from consideration.

Moore replaces longtime health department administrator Dr. Marilyn Crumpton who's been serving as interim health commissioner since Noble Masseru resigned in May 2016. Moore starts in three months. Her salary will be around $180,000, according to Lichtenstein.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.