The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention will operate without a director for at least the remaining 18 months of the LePage administration, officials confirmed.

Kenneth J. Albert resigned as CDC director in May to take a job in the private sector.

The CDC is now being co-led by Dr. Christopher Pezzullo as the state health officer and Sheryl Peavey as chief operating officer.

John Martins, spokesman for the Maine CDC, said in an email response to questions that “the new leadership structure is the direction moving forward.”

Martins also wrote that “this change will provide the department’s public health office with both strong operational leadership and clinical expertise, and position the Maine CDC for continued success.”

A news release on the Maine CDC website says that Peavey “will be responsible for day-to-day operational decision-making, while the State Health Officer’s clinical expertise will inform decisions affecting public health for the Maine CDC” and the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Both positions will report directly to DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew,” it said.

Martins and other Maine health officials did not respond to additional questions requesting more details on how the new leadership structure would be better than having a director. The Maine CDC and its predecessor, the Bureau of Health, have always operated with a director.

Public health advocates interviewed by the Portland Press Herald said they were not overly concerned about the top changes at the Maine CDC.

Dr. Lisa Ryan, past president of the Maine Medical Association, which represents physicians before the Legislature, said that while there’s some worries about not having a director, she believes “it’s a model that could work.”

Ryan said Pezzullo, a pediatrician, is “an excellent physician” who is doing good work for the state.

Deborah Deatrick, a senior vice president of MaineHealth who lobbies the Legislature on health issues and has not held back on criticizing the Maine CDC and DHHS on other issues, said Pezzullo has done a great job, communicates well and deserves a chance.

Pezzullo has been credited with spearheading tough new prescribing rules for opioids, among the most stringent in the United States, according to experts who have examined the rules that were approved by the Legislature.

Four out of five new heroin addicts are first addicted to prescription opioids, and Maine now requires doctors to check the Prescription Monitoring Program before prescribing opioids and undergo mandatory training. It also caps the dosage of opioids for most patients at 100 morphine-milligram equivalents per day.

About 350,000 Mainers were prescribed a total of 80 million opioid pills in 2014, according to the latest figures available from the Maine DHHS.

The Maine CDC did not respond to questions about raises for Pezzullo and Peavey. In 2015, Pezzullo earned $104,000 from the state, while Peavey made $79,000, according to state records. Albert, who was promoted to CDC director in 2015 from the Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services, made $106,000.

But not everyone agrees with the new leadership structure.

Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook and House chairman of the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee, questioned the LePage administration’s commitment to public health.

“That organization is very muddled,” Gattine said. “It’s not clear to me who’s in charge.”