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Health & Medicine

Onondaga County Health Commissioner to Resign

Scott Willis

Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Cynthia Morrow says she’s never been more passionate about public health…which could be why she’s decided to resign. 

 She told the media Thursday she strongly disagrees with plans to move the division of child and maternal health from her department to the new department of child and family services. 

"I support the idea of improved coordination of services; however, I strongly believe that maternal and child health is a core public health function and that is best supported and that thrives best in a public health model.  For those reasons, we have to agree to disagree and that is the reason I offered my resignation.  Again, it's very important to me that people understand that we all want the best for our community and we just have different visions of what that looks like."

The shift of maternal and child health to the new Department of Child and Family Services would take effect next year as part of a larger reorganization.  Deputy County Executive for Human Services Ann Rooney says all staff and services will remain intact under the plan.  

Ann Rooney says children and maternal health will be "relocated" under a different department in January.

 "There were no layoffs, there's no intention to lay anyone off; it's just addressing the service delivery model in a different way.  It was contemplated last year in the 2014 budget, so parts of it were done last year, always with the communication that that was just the first part of the reorganization."

Rooney says the re-organization shrinks the health department but not county government, and doesn’t save any money.  Dr.  Morrow joined the health department in 2000 and has served as commissioner for nine years.  She’ll stay on for the next several weeks to ensure a smooth transition.  Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Michelle Mignano will serve on an interim basis.