If it is true that almost all other health districts in Washington state follow the same model as SRHD, with the health officer reporting to, and subordinate to, a non-medical district administrator, someone needs to do some serious research about how that model successfully works in other districts.
Because I think that model is exactly backwards.
If the most important responsibility of the health district is the public health, I think the health officer should be the equivalent of the CEO. The administrator of the district has an important job, managing the work of 300 employees and the budget. That person should be the equivalent of a COO, reporting to the CEO directly and indirectly to the district’s board.
If the district is effectively run, with multiple programs and projects running on schedule, within budget, the administrator can report progress to the health officer/CEO and the board. If problems occur, the administrator can suggest solutions so the board and the health officer/CEO can make policy decisions to address the problem.
I can see no justification for having an inexperienced, under-qualified general management person overruling the medical and public health decisions of an experienced, highly qualified health officer.
It’s good news that the state BOH will investigate the bungling efforts of the board and the current administrator to circumvent board policy and Washington state law to terminate Dr. Lutz.
I hope board members will cooperate fully with the investigation to sort out the mess they’ve created.