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Opinion >  Letters

Admin officer isn’t essential

The board of the Spokane Regional Health District has failed at its essential function: To protect the public health.

When faced with choosing between the health officer, whose duty is to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19, and the administrative officer, with neither the training nor expertise to provide such protection, the Health District board voted to retain the latter and fire the former. The board placed the administrator above the well-being of the public. The Health District does not exist for the benefit of the administrative officer. It exists to protect the public health. Terminating Dr. Lutz in the midst of the pandemic is an unmitigated failure of the board’s fiduciary duty to everyone within the boundaries of the Spokane Regional Health District.

The responsibilities and authorities of the health officer are set by state law, not the Health District board or the administrative officer. Revised Code of Washington, Section 70.05.070. State law does not require the Health District to have an administrative officer. It does require, however, a health officer. Dr. Lutz’s responsibility is to control and prevent the spread of the corona virus, not placate political appointees to the Health District board. He is charged with taking such measures as he deems necessary to promote public health. No evidence has been presented that Dr. Lutz acted other than to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The law recognizes a duly qualified public health officer is an essential position; an administrative officer is not.

Roger Chase



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