Hill selected as new county health officer

The Cascade County City-County Health Department’s governing body voted May 5 to hire Abigail Hill as the new public health officer.

The governing body, which was established last year after a state law change, is comprised of the three county commissioners and one non-voting city commissioner. Currently, Mayor Bob Kelly is the city’s representative.

The county commissioners interviewed Hill and the other two candidates, Kendal Nagel and Isabella Boroje on April 22.

County officials said there were eight applicants for the position and after using a screening tool, the county health board and county staff selected the top three candidates for interviews.

The position has been vacant since December.

After the interviews, five health board members provided feedback and of those, three ranked Hill as their top choice and Boroje, an epidemiologist from out of town, as their second. The other two ranked Boroje as their first choice and split between Hill and Nagel as their second. Nagel is a nurse with Great Falls Public Schools.

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Commissioner Joe Briggs said that Boroje was his first choice and voted against hiring Hill.

Hill is a nurse at CCHD and Commissioner Don Ryan said that knowledge and experience would be helpful to Hill in assuming the leadership role.

“I got a good feeling for Abigail,” Ryan said.

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Commissioner Jim Larson said that though Hill doesn’t have as much experience in certain areas of CCHD, the staff can support that.

“I thought Abigail did a good job in the interview,” he said.

Kelly, the city’s representative on the governing body, said that Hill was his top choice for the county health officer position.

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Tom Moore, Great Falls Public Schools superintendent, was the only person to speak during public comment and said he also supported selecting Hill for the position. Moore serves on the city-county health board.

CCHD is a joint operation that is funded by the city and county with the county funding the majority of its operations and employees fall under the county.

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Briggs said the county would conduct a background check and then formally make the offer to Hill.