ADEC

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation office in Kodiak's Griffin Memorial Building has had no regular occupant for the last nine months. Drew Herman/Kodiak Daily Mirror

The position of environmental health officer in Kodiak hasn’t been filled in nine months, and it could wind up a permanent victim of budget cuts.

After the position became vacant in November 2015, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation tried to hire a new officer.

“Despite multiple attempts to recruit for this position, both at local and national levels, we were unsuccessful in finding a qualified applicant before budget reductions stalled recruitment efforts,” ADEC public information officer Candice Bressler wrote in an email. “The Food Safety and Sanitation Program took a $268,100 reduction in FY2017, so we are in process of evaluating our ability to fill vacant positions throughout the State, given our reduced budget.”

The qualifications for the health officer position are a bachelor’s degree in a scientific field and one year of experience in inspection, investigation or permitting of food-related or public facilities. Four years of a combination of experience with applying public and environmental health standards or quality control and education can be substituted for the degree.

ADEC last advertised the position in March 2016 with a $5,304 per month salary, or almost $64,000 per year, Bressler wrote.

The Kodiak office remains open, but it has been vacant, only used when environmental health officers come from Anchorage to service the Kodiak area.

Under the umbrella of the Kodiak office are 152 Food Safety and Sanitation-permitted facilities divided into three risk categories: 81 high, 17 medium and 54 low, according to Bressler.

Due to budget cuts, the risk categories are used to “prioritize work,” she wrote.

Personnel from Anchorage have flown to Kodiak for inspections three times since fall 2015, with a fourth trip expected later this month.

Contact staff reporter Julie Herrmann at julie@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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