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Regional News

Colleagues, Friends Of Spokane Health Officer Bob Lutz Hold Sunday Rally

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Doug Nadvornick/SPR
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Bob Lutz’s future is in doubt as health officer for the Spokane Regional Health District. The district’s administrative officer has asked him to resign, citing only vague reasons related to job performance.

But Lutz has supporters and many of them showed up at a Sunday afternoon rally outside the health district building.

The rally was a show of support for Bob Lutz.

Male voice on bullhorn: “Don’t go nuts, keep Dr. Lutz. Don’t go nuts, keep Dr. Lutz.”

But for health district employee Amber Lenhart, there are other considerations as well.

“Right now, at a time when mental health is at its low, when staff at the health district is stretched so thin, to have such a dumbfounding transition take place and to rattle not only the public’s trust in public health, but staff’s trust in public health, at a time like this, feels quite irresponsible," she said.

Many of Lenhart’s work colleagues came to the Sunday rally. They were joined by some doctors and nurses, as well as others who held signs expressing their support for the health officer.

 

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Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR
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People sign a letter to the Spokane County Board of Health, asking for more transparency as it considers Bob Lutz's employment future.

Organizers of the rally collected signatures on a letter to the Board of Health, which controls Lutz’s employment future, and Administrative Officer Amelia Clark. The letter questions the timing of the attempt to remove him and the secrecy that surrounds it.

At the rally, a man named Mark took the bullhorn and questioned why a 12-member board of local elected officials and their appointees holds the controls of the county’s top public health officer.

“Why is it none of them are coming from the nurses’ association?" he said to cheers. "Why is none of them are coming from our American doctors’ association? Why is this solely a political decision? I would suggest, in addition to trying to protect a fine doctor, that we insist that we have a change in our system so that, in the future, this is about the science and it’s not about the politics.”

 

 

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Credit Courtesy of Kevin Freeman
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On Sunday, one of the board members, Millwood Mayor Kevin Freeman, released a letter apologized for what he called the “muddled communications.” He says he voted to appoint Lutz as health officer in 2017. But he said if, in an upcoming special meeting, Clark is able to present sufficient information to warrant Lutz’s firing, he will support that.

A date for that special meeting has yet to be scheduled. Lutz on Saturday announced he hasn’t resigned and has hired an attorney.