We are appalled at the Board of Health’s attempt to oust Dr. Lutz as public health officer. Dr. Lutz is a proven and exemplary leader. We’ve been extremely impressed by his leadership during the pandemic. He has endeavored to protect the health of us all, in spite of out-sized political pressures and a chaotic federal response.
Disturbingly, the board is following a sordid national trend. Nationwide, effective public health officers are being ousted, with no one to replace them. They’re ousted for steadfastly advocating for proven public health measures and transparency in COVID case and death numbers. Evidently, Dr. Lutz is in good company.
Successful public health work depends on developing strong relationships, both with the medical community and with the public at large. Dr. Lutz has both of these. The proposed “contract officer” will have neither, nor will she/he have the necessary power to protect our health. He/she will be merely a figurehead.
The Board’s actions portend that more of us will sicken, our hospitals will crash, and deaths will increase. The hoped-for vaccine distribution will be chaotic and, most of all, unfair. The economy will continue to languish because people won’t go where they don’t feel safe, no matter what Phase we’re in.
If Ms. Clark can’t effectively administer the Health District with Dr. Lutz in it, we strongly suggest she be shown the door instead.
And to Dr. Lutz: Thank you. You’ve done well.
Diane Zemke, Ph.D., and Steven Zemke, Ph.D.