The attempted removal of Dr. Bob Lutz, the Medical Director of the Spokane Regional Health District, by the supposedly unilateral authority of Amelia Clark, SRHD’s administrative officer, has all the smell of a behind-the-scenes power struggle. The local situation is a mirror of today’s national issues: the politicizing, denial, and sidelining of science and medicine.
If Amelia Clark’s motivation for the attempted firing is the “personnel issue” she claims then that issue needs a public airing and a public vote by the twelve member SRHD’s Board of Health.
Bylaws are often unnoticed until a crisis develops. Amelia Clark (and whoever it is who might have her ear) failed to consult the rules before the unilateral announcement she made at the squirm-worthy press conference last Friday. Those rules, the Bylaws of the SRHD Board of Health state plainly:
The Board of Health shall approve the appointment and termination of a District Health Officer. The District Health Officer shall be a qualified physician trained and experienced in public health. The Health Officer shall report to the Administrator.
The Board of Health meets routinely on the last Thursday of the month, but the Bylaws also state:
Special meetings may be called by the Chair at his/her discretion, at the request of the Executive Secretary, or on the written request of a majority of the members, provided that written notice is given each member and the media at least twenty-four hours prior to the proposed meeting concerning the time, place and subject, except in an emergency, as provided by RCW 42.30.080
Every one of us should, at a minimum, send an email to the members of the Board of Health demanding a prompt special meeting, a public airing of the issue, and a public vote on this effort to dismiss Dr. Lutz. The email need not be long. It will be numbers that count, not eloquence. I have no doubt there are email writing campaigns under way among anti-mask, anti-science groups in the community who support this attempted ouster.
The quickest way to communicate with all twelve members of the Board of Health is send an email to email@example.com . Such an email is disbursed to each of them.
Or you can email to the individuals on the Board of Health, whom I have listed below with a little background information. All of these people are nominally “non-partisan”, but some of their likely allegiances are fairly clear. The Commissioners and their appointees tend to lean against public health mandates (some like Jason Kinley and Josh Kerns, quite openly) and the members from cities and towns leaning in favor of the scientific guidance of public health. Remember that Ben Wick in his position of Chairman has the power to call a special meeting according to the Bylaws.
I hope you will pay close attention to these people and their backgrounds as this drama plays out.
Ben Wick, Mayor of the City of Spokane Valley City Council and Current Chairman of the SRHD Board of Health
Linda Thompson, City of Spokane Valley Council member
Kevin Freeman, Mayor of the Town of Millwood, representing all the smaller towns and cities in “the District”, i.e. Spokane County
Breean Beggs, President of the City of Spokane City Council
Karen Stratton, City of Spokane City Council member
Betsy Wilkerson, City of Spokane City Council member
Al French, Spokane County Commissioner, and frequent non-attendee at BOH meetings as well as the longest standing and most influential of the three Commissioners
Mary Kuney, Spokane County Commissioner (most recently added Commissioner)
Josh Kerns, Spokane County Commissioner
Jason Kinley, naturopathic “physician” and notable speaker at Matt Shea sponsored anti-lockdown protests, nominated by Josh Kerns from Kerns’ Commissioner District as “the only person who applied.”
Chuck Hafner, a civic-minded Spokane Valley businessman who once served on the City of Spokane Valley’s City Council, now serving on the BOH from Mary Kuney’s Commissioner District.
Andrea Frostad, a dental hygienist serving from Al French’s Commissioner District
I do not have separate email addresses for Mr. Hafner or Ms. Frostad, but they can be reached through the blanket email firstname.lastname@example.org that I listed first.
Amelia Clark, Administrative Officer
L. Ann Pitsnogle, Executive Assistant
For more information: https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2020/oct/30/shawn-vestal-theres-no-excuse-for-the-silence-of-t/
Keep to the high ground,