Hopewell Township’s health department will have a new leader when Dawn Marling starts her duties as the township’s full-time health officer.
Committee members voted unanimously to approve Marling’s appointment through a resolution at a township committee meeting on Aug. 3. Mayor Kristin McLaughlin, Deputy Michael Ruger, Committeeman Kevin Kuchinski, Committeewoman Courtney Peters-Manning and Committeewoman Julie Blake voted “yes” on the measure.
Marling officially starts on Aug. 24 and has an annual salary of $95,000, according to the resolution.
“I am very pleased with the candidates that we were able to interview and pleased with the candidate we selected. We have been in need of a health officer. We were put in a tough spot at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic with Bob English leaving us,” Blake said. “We saw this as an opportunity to do an assessment of needs; unfortunately it coincided with one of the most stressful times for our health department.”
In the process of searching for a health officer, officials were looking for an individual who would fill a need and establish creative ideas.
“A big part of the conversation was that we have a high environmental need in Hopewell Township and we also have a changing population,” Blake said. “We were looking for someone who would both fill our environmental needs, and Dawn Marling does that beautifully, as well as look forward to creative ideas for social services and other health education opportunities.”
Montgomery Township Health Officer Stephanie Carey will continue to serve as interim health officer until Aug. 25, after the township committee also approved a resolution extending Montgomery’s Health Department’s services.
Carey has been the interim health officer for the township since the resignation earlier this year of former health officer Robert English. She had been made interim health officer through a shared service agreement between Hopewell Township and Montgomery that was originally approved in February.
“Stephanie Carey came to us in a time of need and she has been an amazing health officer. I am so thankful for her experience dealing with the pandemic and staying calm,” Kuchinski said. “We have been more fortunate than many other communities. I look forward to extending that practice with our new health officer.”
Montgomery’s Health Department has been providing health services to Hopewell Borough, Pennington and Hopewell Township.