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City quickly picks new Health Department director

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Less than a week after the city announced Kevin Gipson’s retirement, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department has a new leader ready to take the reins.

Clay Goddard, the department’s assistant director, is scheduled to move into the top role Nov. 12. Gipson plans to work his last day Nov. 9 after 24 years with the department and 13 years as director, according to a news release. The department announced Gipson’s retirement Oct. 6.

Health Department spokeswoman Kathryn Wall said a succession plan was in place at the department level for Goddard to take over for Gipson.

“Clay had long been considered by our department as the next director,” she said this morning. “However, the city manager’s office gets to choose.”

City Manager Greg Burris chose the Health Department’s and Gipson’s pick rather than take applications for the position.

“We're fortunate to have someone of Clay's caliber ready to step into this role – he will hit the ground running,” Burris said in the release. “He works well with, and is respected by, other community leaders both regionally and beyond.”

As director, Goddard will oversee a $10 million budget — with $7 million from the city, $1.1 million from the county and $2 million from grants — and 98 employees in charge of restaurant inspections, birth and death certificates, animal control, family and child health resources, and other services.

Goddard, who will earn an annual salary of $125,000, joined the Health Department in 1996 as an intern. He switched to director of the city’s Information Systems Department before returning to the Health Department as assistant director, according to the release.

“He has developed into one of the most respected public health leaders in the state of Missouri,” Gipson said in the release.

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