Joan Taverna, Hull’s assistant public health nurse and health code enforcement officer for the past five years, has been appointed to the position of public health director, effective Oct. 25.
She will be stepping into the role currently held by Joyce Sullivan, who is retiring as of Oct. 22.
“Joan has been an integral member of the town’s response to the COVID crisis,” Town Manager Philip Lemnios told the Select Board this week during an in-person meeting. “Her extraordinary efforts during this period are a testimony to her dedication to the public health profession, and she has the necessary education, skills, and demonstrated professionalism to serve as the town’s next public health director.”
Taverna has also served as acting health director when Sullivan was unable to do so, “and she did an excellent job,” Lemnios said.
The board unanimously waived its right to reject the appointment within a 15-day period from the date of Lemnios’ Sept. 29 letter to the board announcing Taverna’s appointment. (Select Board member Domenico Sestito was not present.)
Sullivan, who has worked for the town for about 25 years, has served as the public health director for a good deal of that time, Lemnios noted. “I believe she has been planning to retire for some time but delayed that decision in part because of what was happening with COVID,” he said. “This is an example of how committed and compassionate Joyce is toward the people of Hull. She has certainly earned a restful retirement, and the entire town hall staff wishes her [well].”
Select Board Chair Jennifer Constable also wished Sullivan “all the best,” acknowledging that the “past almost-two years have been very trying.”
Sullivan nor Taverna were present at the meeting.
Sullivan shared her thoughts with The Hull Times after the meeting. “I am happy to have served the community and to be a part of it,” she said. “The appointment of Joan as the new director is great for our town; she is a great asset to the Hull community. I could not have worked during COVID and during the last five years without her. She is very hands-on and a team player.”