Memorial Health administrator tapped to lead Sangamon County Public Health Department

John Ridley
John Ridley

Springfield native John Ridley, the system administrator of ambulatory products and services for Memorial Health, has been nominated as the new director of the Sangamon County Department of Public Health.

Ridley, 59, is set to assume his role as acting director on Oct. 2.

The appointment is pending approval from the Sangamon County Board and the Sangamon County Board of Health.

Springfield-area director of public health retiring at the end of September

Ridley would succeed Gail O'Neill, who announced earlier in September that she was retiring. O'Neill's last day as director is Friday.

Ridley's salary would be $150,000, according to Sangamon County spokesman Jeff Wilhite.

The selection of Ridley comes after a search and interview process conducted by a committee comprised of county board and board of health members.

Ridley began his healthcare career as a radiation therapist at Memorial Medical Center, now Springfield Memorial Hospital, in 1994.

According to a biography on Memorial Health's website, Ridley has spent 15 of his 25 years in healthcare at Decatur Memorial Hospital, where he held the positions of executive director of oncology services, senior vice president and executive vice president and chief operating officer.

"I am honored and grateful for the committee's confidence in my abilities," Ridley said, in a news release from the county. "I look forward to working closely with the county board and the county board of health. I believe we can effectively manage a successful department that serves our community's healthcare needs."

Ridley served six years of active duty in the U.S. Navy. Following his military service, Ridley earned a bachelor’s degree in health administration from the University of Illinois Springfield and a master's degree inhealthcare delivery science from Dartmouth College.

He is married with two children.

Ridley becomes only the third director of the county health department, which was started in 1990. The city of Springfield health department merged with the county department in 2006.

O'Neill was named director in 2019 succeeding Jim Stone.

Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788;; X,

This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Memorial Health administrator picked as Sangamon County health director