In a special meeting held Monday afternoon, the Summit County Board of Health appointed Dr. Phil Bondurant as their next Health Director.
Bondurant will be succeeding Dr. Rich Bullough who served nearly 11 years heading up the Summit County Health Department.
Bondurant will become the Health Director as of August 21st, immediately following Bullough’s retirement, and will serve a three-year term.
In a press statement, the Health Board said that after being notified of Dr. Bullough’s departure several weeks ago, they began the process of picking a successor in consultation with the County Council, County Manager and the County Attorney’s Office.
Bondurant, a native of Nevada, joined Summit County in 2014 as the Environmental Health Director, and was promoted to Deputy Director in 2019.
His appointment was unanimously approved by Board Members Dorothy Adams, Roger Armstrong, Chairman Chris Cherniak, Doug Evans and Marc Watterson. Two members who were absent, Chris Ure and Ilyssa Golding, sent messages that they whole-heartedly supported the appointment.
Chris Cherniak said the Board chose Bondurant after reviewing his credentials and experience and going through a “fairly robust interview process.”
Taking media questions, he was asked if they talked to any other candidates. Cherniak said no.
“We considered opening up the process to other candidates. But quite honestly, after interviewing Dr. Bondurant and hearing from some other individuals in the county, we decided that he was the right individual for this position.”
Cherniak and County Manager Tom Fisher said they also held a special Health Board meeting for the appointment because it’s important to get started on the transition with Drs. Bullough and Bondurant. Cherniak said that’s also a reason they didn’t conduct a wider candidate search, which would probably have taken months.
Board Member Dorothy Adams was one of those who commended Bondurant.
“I truthfully believe your experience with environmental health is a very needed piece for a public health director. And I think you have always demonstrated, throughout the time that I’ve known you, just as was noted by Marc, just a professionalism as you work with the community. You have a passion for the work you’re doing, which I think is absolutely critical. And for the year that we just experienced, hopefully a once-in-a-lifetime response, you were by Rich’s side and a very needed piece as well for the community.”
Bondurant said he was humbled and excited by the new position. He said he was mentored during the past year by Dr. Bullough.
“I’ll be the first to tell you, having worked with Rich and been on the phone till the wee hours of the morning about pandemic stuff, they are very big shoes to fill.”
Summit County’s next Health Director, Phil Bondurant.
The Board also announced they will immediately start the search for a new Deputy Health Director.