Merging government units is never easy, but it can happen when the right people are in positions of power and when the incentives for change are greater than the desire for the status quo. It’s too early to tell if the time is right, but officials with three health departments in Summit County are talking about a merger again.
ABJ reporter Cheryll Powell details the conversation today:
Summit County’s three health departments are talking about whether to consider merging the public agencies to improve services and save money.
The Akron Health Department, the Summit County Health District and the Barberton Health District have had informal, ”exploratory” discussions about investigating a merger, Summit County Health Commissioner Gene Nixon said.
”There isn’t anything like a decision to form a committee or hire a consultant,” Nixon said this week. ”We’re moving toward the point where we should talk about that.”
The idea of merging the county’s health departments has been floated several times during the past 15 years, Nixon said.
Akron recently merged its building department with the county’s building department. And the city’s police department and the county sheriff are working more closely together. Perhaps Summit County will become the leader in the region when it comes to government consolidation.