Kenneth Pincus is Kearny’s new health officer.
Pincus, a resident of Warren, was hired last Tuesday night by the local governing body at an annual salary of $99,500, effective May 1. He replaces John Sarnas, who retired April 1 after a four-decade- plus career in the health department.
Pincus has worked since 2006 as principal registered environmental health specialist for the Westfield Regional Health Department in Westfield. Before that, he was registered environmental health specialist for the Edison Department of Health from 1995 to 2006. And, prior, he was a part-time registered environmental health specialist for the Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission in Green Brook from 2004 to 2010.
This will mark Pincus’s first time serving as a certified municipal health officer.
Still, Mayor Alberto Santos said he’s persuaded that Pincus is a good choice for the job.
“We had nine applicants of whom all but one had a municipal health officer license and extensive experience in local health departments,” Santos said. “We interviewed two with the most experience.”
“We feel Ken is highly credentialed, who, in addition to possessing a license, has other certifications related to the health care field and is a seasoned health professional who will continue the tradition established by John Sarnas during his more than 40 years with the department,” Santos said.
Santos said that Sarnas will make himself available on a volunteer basis to help with the administrative transition.
Pincus’s professional resume lists him as licensed by the state Department of Health as a registered environmental health specialist, lead inspector/risk assessor and certified retail food standardized trainer. He’s also listed as licensed by the state Department of Environmental Protection as a commercial pesticide applicator and a certified community noise enforcement officer.
He has also completed FEMA courses on bio-terrorism modules and he is an adjunct professor with the University of Phoenix’s College of Health Sciences and Nursing, teaching health law.
He has a B.S. degree in environmental management from the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, R.I., and an M.S. in health administration from New Jersey City University, Jersey City.
Working in the health field “has been my passion,” Pincus told The Observer last week.
While he has had no prior work-related experience in Kearny, Pincus said he has driven through the West Hudson area many times.
In his previous job, Pincus said he introduced a standardization program for local restaurant inspections in the Westfield region, which took in the communities of Fanwood, Cranford and Garwood, ensuring that appropriate steps were being taken to protect food from potential contamination and, especially, during flood conditions.
– Ron Leir