November 14, 2008 in City

Health officer search not over

After two years, only final candidate declines offer
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Christopher Anderson photo

Eberhart-Phillips
(Full-size photo)

A California physician has declined a job offer as health officer for the Spokane Regional Health District.

The decision by Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, 51, follows a two-year search by the health board, which comprises all three county commissioners and other local officials.

Eberhart-Phillips initially declined the job two weeks ago, but health board Chairman Dave Crump attempted to salvage the offer. Those efforts ended Wednesday evening when the two spoke on the phone, the district announced Thursday.

A sticking point may have been pay.

The executive recruitment firm hired to find a new health officer has said the district’s pay scale lagged behind the going wage of public health physicians. The district planned to pay up to $145,000, but bumped the pay to $165,000 in its offer to Eberhart-Phillips.

Eberhart-Phillips was out of his office Thursday and did not return messages. The board did not say why Eberhart-Phillips declined the job. He is now the public health officer of El Dorado County in California.

He was the only candidate invited by the health board to final interviews.

The search will now start over, said Julie Graham, a spokeswoman for the health district.

The board dismissed former health officer Dr. Kim Thorburn two years ago, refusing to renew her contract.

The board and Thorburn clashed on issues and management style. She lost her bid to replace Todd Mielke on the Spokane County Commission in last week’s general election.


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