Bertie Medical Director resigns

Published 9:37 am Tuesday, November 3, 2009

WINDSOR – Bertie County will soon have a new Medical Director.

Dr. Phil Harris, who has served for seven years in the post, has submitted his letter of resignation. Dr. Harris officially resigned as of November 1, but extended his last day until Nov. 30 to allow for the county to find a replacement.

Monday morning, Emergency Management Coordinator Rickey Freeman appeared before the Bertie County Board of Commissioners to share information he had obtained concerning those who were interested in the post.

Freeman said he went to the Regional EMS Office seeking contact information for all current medical directors in eastern North Carolina. He then contacted those people asking if they were interested in the position.

Two responded they were indeed interested in becoming Bertie County Medical Director. They were Dr. Mike Lowery, Medical Director of Carteret County, and Dr. Nina Ward, Medical Director of Beaufort County.

Dr. Lowery is also currently the Interim Emergency Room Director for Chowan Hospital in Edenton. He offered to serve in the post for $1,250 per month. Dr. Ward’s price was $2,000 per month.

“I spoke with both of them as late as last week and they are still interested in the position,” Freeman told commissioners.

Board Chairman Norman M. Cherry Sr. said he noticed a large difference in the price the two were willing to work for. He asked if Dr. Lowery was certified to handle the job since his price was much less.

Freeman said both candidates met state requirements to serve as Medical Director.

Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb told the board they could wait until their second meeting of the month (scheduled Nov. 16), but that he and Freeman were ready to make a recommendation.

Lamb said Dr. Lowery would be their recommendation to take over the post from Dr. Harris. Lamb said the price was substantially different and Freeman also noted that Dr. Lowery was familiar with Bertie County, having worked previously with an ambulance service in the county.

Commissioner J. Wallace Perry made the motion to appoint Dr. Lowery with Commissioner Charles Smith offering a second. It passed without objection.

The county manager then stated Dr. Harris has served as Medical Director for Bertie County since legislation mandated the county have someone in that position. He said Dr. Harris had volunteered his services during that time.

Commissioner Perry then asked Lamb and his staff to draft a resolution of appreciation for the years of service Dr. Harris provided to the county. Cherry asked Freeman to invite Dr. Harris to the Nov. 16 meeting in order for the resolution to be presented.