State Board of Health To Hold Hearing For Lutz Firing

Jun 1, 2021

The Washington State Board of Health will hold a hearing to review the firing of Spokane County's former health officer Dr. Bob Lutz.
Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR

The Washington Board of Health says it will hold a hearing as it decides whether to take action after the removal of former Spokane Regional Health District Health Officer Bob Lutz.

The board is following up on a preliminary probe recently conducted to investigate a claim that Administrative Officer Amelia Clark acted illegally in firing Lutz last October. Seattle investigator Karen Sutherland presented her findings Tuesday. She said she interviewed Clark and some others in Spokane, but said she didn’t have authority to issue subpoenas. She said she couldn’t find out what the Spokane County health board talked about during an executive session before it formally fired Lutz.

State Board of Health chairman Keith Grellner says he needs more information before he decides whether to take action against Clark or to dismiss the complaint against her.

“Ms. Clark, Dr. Lutz and anybody else who we can get to testify or compel to testify will be under oath and I think that could help us clear up a couple of these questions. This is not a simple, straightforward case in my mind. There’s a lot of intricacies involved," he said.

Members want to know whether she fired Lutz in a meeting before getting authorization from the county health board.

The state board decided to hire an outside administrative law judge to preside over the hearing, but no date for it has yet been set.

Sutherland recently issued a report saying there is evidence that Lutz was not given a chance to defend himself in a hearing before he was terminated.