Coconino County’s new super department now has a director.
Thomas Pristow, the current deputy commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, was named the new director of the county’s Health and Human Services department by County Manager James Jayne.
Pristow begins his role August 26. His appointment is expected to be confirmed by the Board of Supervisors during their meeting the following day.
“I look forward to leading the professional staff at Coconino County as we continue to find new ways to serve our most vulnerable populations. … We will work with stakeholders, county leadership and our customers to enhance service delivery to make our programs the best in the country,” he said in a statement.
Pristow holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland at Baltimore.
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He currently oversees more than 3,000 staff members and manages a $2.2 million annual budget in New Hampshire. He has previously served in other human service roles in Ohio, Nebraska, Virginia and Vermont and is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army.
“His extensive experience and proven leadership capabilities will be invaluable as we continue to re-imagine service delivery in the newly united Health and Human Services department,” Deputy County Manager Marie Peoples said in a statement.
The Health and Human Services department was created on July 1 by merging the Public Health Services District, Community Services and the Career Center to provide cross-trained employees and extended service hours.
County officials are currently working on plans for a $17 million building for this department, to connect to the existing facility on King Street.