Joplin Covid update 6-22

Joplin Health Department Director Dan Pekarek speaks on the recent uptick of COVID-19 cases during a briefing on Monday morning at Joplin City Hall. Globe | Laurie Sisk

Dan Pekarek, Joplin's longtime health department director, has accepted the position of assistant city manager, City Manager Nick Edwards announced Monday.

Pekarek most recently served as interim city manager for a year until Edwards was hired in March. He has been employed by the city of Joplin for 34 years, serving as health director for 25 years.

"Dan is a great leader for the organization," Edwards said in a statement. "He brings many strong skills to this role. His high standard for work product has been evident during his career at the city, and especially throughout the recent coronavirus pandemic. ...As an organization, we are strengthened to have Dan step into this position and I am excited to have him alongside as we work toward building Joplin’s future together."

Along with his new duties, Pekarek will remain the health department director until a successor is identified. His new duties will include direct supervision of several departments, including public works and central garage, planning development and neighborhood services, parks and recreation and the municipal court.

He also will assist in the oversight of all departments and work with Edwards to keep him apprised of ongoing projects, financial status, employee relation issues and other progress relating to legislation, economic development, city operations and governmental activities, according to a statement from the city.

Pekarek currently serves as chairman of several health-related boards in the community, including the Jasper and Newton Counties Community Health Collaborative and the Jasper and Newton Counties Emergency Healthcare Coalition. He also is a member of the One Joplin steering team and One Joplin health team.

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