MADERA — Madera County plans to begin posting health department food inspection reports online beginning early next year.
At their regular meeting on Tuesday, June 4, the Madera County Board of Supervisors OK’d a plan that will allow a county employee in the Environmental Health division to set up and manage software for the new online reporting system.
There are currently more than 500 “food facilities” regulated by the health department in Madera County and, under the present system, someone wishing to see a recent inspection report must file a request via the county website and then wait up to 10 days for a response.
The move to the new online inspection reporting system comes, in part, as a result of passage of State Senate Bill 252 (SB 252).
That bill, signed in to law by the governor in 2017, requires counties that receive a new application for a well permit “in a critically overdrafted basin” to make the application information readily available online to both the public and to groundwater sustainability agencies by January 2020.
Supervisors decided to pair the installation of software required by SB 252 with the roll out of the new online food inspection reports.
Monica Roath, the county’s senior environmental health specialist, got a 5 percent annual pay raise from supervisors this week to oversee the project for the next year. Roath has worked in Madera County’s Environmental Health division for five years. Her current job duties include oversight of the solid waste, liquid waste, medical waste and tattoo body art programs. Roath will manage the new system through June 2020 and see an extra $307 a month in her paycheck to assume the additional responsibilities.
Dexter Marr, deputy director for the Environmental Health division, told supervisors Tuesday that Roath has prior training and knowledge in the Information Technology (IT) field and is the best suited employee in the division to oversee and manage the website and Geographic Information System (GIS) that will track the inspection reports.
Marr say that, for the past several years, the division has received numerous requests from the public for online food inspection reports. The new system, he adds, will help the County promote its effort in broadcasting public information and transparency.
Board Chair Brett Frasier says that, with all of the emphasis on social media, it’s important the county keep up.
“And nothing brings people together more than food safety improvements.”
Supervisor Tom Wheeler agrees that the plan to post inspection reports online is a “very good idea.”
Marr notes that the goal is to eventually hire and train a new business analyst to oversee these projects “once we have implemented the framework.”
“Hopefully, we’ll get this new program going in January 2020.”