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Commissioners meet new health commissioner

The Williams County commissioners were formally introduced Thursday to the new health commissioner for the county.

After 37 years as part of the Ohio Department of Health, and 17 years as Williams County health commissioner, Jim Watkins is officially retiring soon. He brought his replacement, Oscar Hernandez, to meet the commissioners.

Hernandez will officially start in his new position Tuesday.

“I know that the board of health, as well as our staff, is very excited to have Oscar be the new health commissioner,” Watkins said.

Hernandez said he previously was in charge of food safety quality compliance for Meijer at the corporate office.

“I oversaw them for about eight years and that area encompassed Detroit, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania, so a pretty big area,” Hernandez said.

Before that, he was the environmental health director for Defiance County and emergency preparedness with Fulton County.

“So, I’ve got some experience with the environmental programs and public health,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez is originally from Pettisville and earned his master’s degree at Bluffton College.

“I’m happy to be back in the area,” he added.

Watkins pointed out the health department will have a renewal levy on the fall ballot for operational expenses.

“So Oscar’s going to get up to speed on that,” Watkins said. “We’ve had that operational money since 2010.”

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