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Sutter announces retirement, asks officials to begin search for his successor

Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter has informed Board members that he will step down from the post he has held for about two years.
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 7:03 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter has informed Board members that he will step down from the post he has held for about two years, asking them at the conclusion of Monday’s meeting to launch a search for his successor.

Sutter took over the role of top medical official shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, in June 2020. He inherited the post from Dr. Deborah McMahan, who retired after 20 years in the position.

Sutter disclosed his decision as part of the “new business” of the Board, explaining that it is his “intention to retire from public service.... effective this summer -- likely in July.”

Sutter said he accepted the position with the intention of holding it “through the emergency phase of COVID,” noting that his responsibilities in the private sector have increased even as he has helped steep the County through the pandemic. In late 2020, Sutter was named Chief Medical Officer at IU Health Fort Wayne, which is in the midst of an aggressive expansion.

Members of the Board offered thanks and praise for the work Sutter has done, joking that he was welcome to maintain the post “if you ever change your mind.”

According to the department’s website the duties of Health Commissioner include:

  • Enforcing all applicable public health laws, ordinances and regulations relating to the position;
  • Serving as the Medical Director of the department’s clinics;
  • Providing public health guidance to the various divisions of the department, as well as consulting with various physicians and other health professionals and agencies;
  • Assessing and developing programs to provide and promote the maximum health protection for county residents;
  • Working with the Department Administrator to coordinate, direct and control the operation of all divisions in the department and to establish and implement short and long-range goals;
  • Serving as official spokesperson for the department for all public health-related issues and delegating public and media relations duties to other department personnel as needed;
  • Maintaining a working relationship with the Fort Wayne Medical Society, the Indiana State Department of Health and other government and regulating agencies; and
  • Performing related duties as assigned by the Executive Board of Health.

There was no immediate indication of a timeline to identify and hire a new commissioner.

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