Update: Dr. Marian Evans has spent her final day as city health director.
An email sent from the mayor’s office to Health Department employees explained that Friday was her final day. She’ll be replaced in the short term by William Quinn, recently retired after 21 years as New Haven’s director of health. Meanwhile a search for a new health director will take place, according to Mayor Bill Finch.
I heard from several Health Department employees this weekend who report that Evans, who has strong roots in the city, was well regarded. Clearly, Evans and the mayor did not get along and more information will come out regarding the mayor’s decision not to reappoint her. Evans has solid contacts in the black community and we’ll see how this plays out politically. Evans serves as president of the board of directors of the Witness Project of Connecticut, a support organization for breast and cervical cancer victims, founded by Marilyn Moore who lost a close Democratic State Senate primary to Anthony Musto in 2008. Moore’s name is being floated by some city pols as a potential mayoral candidate next year. In the short term, supporters of Evans see a black woman being replaced by a white male.
News release from Mayor Finch:
Dr. Evans Appointment as City Health Director Expires; Mayor Finch to Appoint William Quinn as Acting Health Director
WIC program to transition to outside service provider
BRIDGEPORT, CT (February 5, 2010) – Mayor Bill Finch today announced that Marian Evans’ appointment as Director of the City’s Health and Social Services department has expired. Effective immediately, Mayor Finch will appoint William Quinn, former Health Director for the City of New Haven, as the Acting Director of Health for a period of 90 days. The City will work with the DPH to immediately begin a public search process for a permanent appointee for the position for the department.
“We wish Dr. Evans well in her future endeavors and thank her for her many years of service to the City,” said Mayor Finch. “We welcome Mr. Quinn, whose commitment to public health spans nearly 30 years, 21 of those as Director of Health in the City of New Haven. We look forward to his leadership in charting a new course for the department.”
Quinn retired Feb. 1 from his position in the New Haven Department of Health. He received a Master’s of Public Health in Health Services Administration from Yale University School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in 1975, and has spent his entire career in public health. He resides in New Haven.
“The Connecticut Department of Public Health will provide assistance and support during this period of transition to ensure that residents of Bridgeport continue to have full time public health services,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Robert Galvin. “We look forward to working with Bill Quinn and are confident he will provide a high level of public health leadership to the people of Bridgeport.”
Also today, the City announced that the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC), currently operated by the City, will be transitioned to another service provider as of October 1, 2010. The state DPH plans to solicit Requests for Proposals (RFP) from community service agencies, social service agencies, medical and/or health facilities to run the program. This operation model is currently in use in communities such as New London, Norwich, Bristol, Windham and New Haven.
“The demand for this program has been growing statewide, mostly due to the downturn in the economy and job losses. The increase in population to be served here in the City of Bridgeport, and the surrounding towns we serve, has made it difficult for our department to successfully meet the current demands,” said Iris Molina, director of the City’s Social Services department.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children serves to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritional assessment and education, breastfeeding support, referrals to health care and nutritious foods to supplement diets.
Jodi’s Jail news release. You know what I say, stick it in Hamden! Must be painful for Jodi to say something nice about the Big Wave.
Governor Rell: Bridgeport Alternatives ‘Not Promising,’ But Review Continues
Governor Thanks Caruso, Musto for Suggesting Hamden Alternative – Asks Bridgeport Lawmakers to Discuss Issue with Hamden Delegation
Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that she is continuing to review six alternative locations proposed by the City of Bridgeport for a planned secure juvenile treatment center for girls, but said a preliminary review suggested none of the alternative sites were likely to prove suitable for the facility.
Governor Rell also thanked state Representative Christopher Caruso (D-126) and state Senator Anthony Musto (D-22) of Bridgeport, who this week suggested that the state consider locating the treatment center at the now-closed High Meadows Residential Facility in Hamden instead. The Governor asked the two legislators to contact their colleagues in the Hamden delegation to ascertain their interest and concerns about having the treatment center sited in their community.
Current plans call for building the facility for girls on state-owned land on Virginia Avenue in Bridgeport. The project has been under discussion with Bridgeport officials and residents since at least July 2008, and Governor Rell has repeatedly noted that the state has been without a residential treatment facility for juvenile girls since Long Lane School was closed in 2003.
Last month, after some residents and members of the Legislature announced their opposition to the Virginia Avenue site, the Governor agreed to give Bridgeport a month to propose alternative locations, provided they met criteria developed by the state Department of Public Works (DPW). That deadline expired today.
“One way or another, we must build this facility,” said Governor Rell. “The girls who will be served there have already gone far too long without a proper place to get the help they need – and that has to be the overriding concern. This will not be a ‘jail,’ as critics would have it. It will be a residential facility, a place that will be far more home-like than state buildings most people are used to seeing.”
For that reason, the Governor noted, Caruso and Musto are incorrect in claiming that the Virginia Avenue site – which is zoned for residential housing – would not be suitable for the planned facility.
“Our initial review of the six locations proposed by Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and the Bridgeport delegation is not promising,” the Governor said. “Some sites require environmental impact assessments or are in environmentally sensitive areas; others are in flood plains. Nevertheless, I have directed the DPW to continue working with the Mayor and the delegation as they do a more comprehensive review of the five locations.
“At the same time, I have asked Representative Caruso and Senator Musto – who suggested High Meadows as an alternative location – to check with their colleagues in the Hamden delegation to see whether that community would be receptive to the idea,” Governor Rell said. “I have also asked the DPW to review the High Meadows site in greater detail to see whether we could, in fact, locate the new facility there.”
The six sites proposed by Bridgeport as possible alternatives are:
774 East Main Street, Bridgeport
2101 Commerce Drive & 29 Cornwall Street (rear), Bridgeport
Fairchild Memorial Park (portion), Trumbull (owned by City of Bridgeport)
Church Hill Road & Route 59, Fairfield (Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course) (owned by City of Bridgeport)
784 Fairfield Avenue, 804 Fairfield Avenue, 816 Fairfield Avenue, 836 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport
1759 State Street, 1524 & 1550 Railroad Avenue, 1815 State Street, 1835 Fairfield Avenue #1837, 1851 Fairfield Avenue, 1857 Fairfield Avenue, 1863 Fairfield Avenue, 1865 Fairfield Avenue, 1887 Fairfield Avenue
Governor Rell said the 10-member state Bond Commission is expected to approve the project whenever it is placed on the agenda. State Senator Eileen Daily (D-33), co-Chair of the Finance Committee, has committed to vote for the project at the next Bond Commission meeting.
No Bond Commission meeting is planned for February, meaning DPW will have additional time to conduct a full analysis of both the suggested Bridgeport sites and the High Meadows site.
The 36,000-square-foot center will accommodate girls 18 years old or younger who have been convicted of a delinquent offense. The facility will be relatively small, with 16 secure beds and 8 beds for girls transitioning from the secure center back to community residential facilities. DCF has worked with the advocacy community to design the facility and the program exclusively to meet the specific needs of girls.
Statement from Mayor Finch re: Virginia Avenue
I remain completely opposed to a treatment center being built by the state in the Virginia Avenue neighborhood. I am pleased that Governor Rell and her administration is still considering alternate sites particularly outside of the City of Bridgeport and not in our neighborhoods. I have valued my close working relationship with the Governor over many years. I am, however, very disappointed that I have still not heard directly from her on this issue despite repeated attempts.
Over the past thirty days, I have worked with my team to thoroughly pursue as many alternate locations as possible. These zoning and development experts reported to me and to the state delegation that no current sites in Bridgeport including Virginia Avenue satisfy the state’s own criteria – particularly that it meets existing zoning requirements. The Virginia Avenue site is currently a residentially zoned neighborhood and therefore is unsuitable. It is incredibly disappointing that the Governor’s staff continues to insist that Virginia Avenue is an appropriate site despite the fact that it is clearly in the middle of a family neighborhood.