As the newly installed interim director of the Moore County Health Department, Matt Garner is only the fifth person to oversee the agency in 93 years.
His appointment follows the retirement of Robert Wittmann, the longest-serving health director in Moore County history. Wittmann had held the position since 1985.
A native of Robbins, Garner received his bachelor’s degree in community health from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in 2004. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Garner first joined the Moore County Health Department in 2006. Four years later, he was named public information officer for the department.
He was placed in charge of the department’s Health Education Division in 2012 and was sworn in as the agency’s deputy director in 2016.
“I look forward to the opportunity,” Garner said of his new role. “The Health Department has a wonderful staff and it is such an honor to serve in a leadership role.”
Garner was appointed following a closed, virtual meeting of the Moore County Board of Health, which oversees the health department, on Dec. 17. The board also tabbed Tommy Jarrell, former director of the Richmond County Health Department, to assist with the transition as a part-time consultant.
Tony Price, vice chairman of the Moore County Board of Health, said he is “looking forward” to working with Garner.
“He’s a young, bright talent that will help us through this transition,” Price said in a phone interview.
The board will continue to accept applications for Wittmann’s permanent replacement through Friday. The starting salary ranges from $91,694 to $137,542, according to a job listing on the county’s website.
Minimum requirements for the position include a bachelor’s degree in public health administration or public administration and at least three years of experience in “health programs and health services,” the listing said.
An update on the search could be shared during the health board’s meeting in January.